Personal brand. It’s certainly an overused term, but it’s definitely not overrated. Personal branding is more important than ever as it helps you to build a reputation for what you want to be known for, differentiate yourself from others, increase your value and influence, and ultimately, advance your career. Regardless if you work in the corporate world or consider yourself an entrepreneur (or both!), knowing and cultivating your personal brand is essential.
Because here’s the thing – you already have a personal brand, whether you realize it or not. However, understanding the power of your personal brand can be difficult and requires self-awareness, intention, and action.
If you’re unsure or curious about how to build and boost your brand, then you’ve landed in the right place. I’ve developed a formula that gives you a step by step approach to doing just that!
L&I’s Build & Boost Brand Formula
Authenticity – Understand Your Magic
Your personal brand needs to be authentic to you. Why? Because your brand is Y-O-U. That’s right, you are a brand. Realize that the added sparkle of your brand is what lies within. Don’t fall into the trap of looking outward at others and what others are doing and trying to emulate that. This is your brand and your opportunity to set yourself apart from everyone else.
So what makes you, you? What are your unique talents and skills? What are your passion points and what energizes you? What do people typically come to you for or compliment you on? Once you’re aware of all of the facets of your personality, you can decide how best to brand them. If you need a template to map this out, look no further than the Personal Brand Plan.
Intention – Define Your Vision
What’s great about a personal brand is that you get to intentionally define and shape the narrative of it. Get clear in what you want to be known for. What personality traits of yours do you want to capitalize on? What do you want others to think or say about you when your name is brought up or when you enter a room? If you’re unsure, reach out to friends, family, and co-workers and ask them the top 5 words that come to mind when they think of you. This will give you more awareness into how your brand currently stands today and if you want to work on changing or expanding on it.
Action – Communicate Your Value
As you begin conceptualizing your brand, start putting it into action. Your digital presence is a key piece of communicating your brand and your value. Make sure that your website and/or social media profiles speak to the person that you are and what you want to showcase about yourself. Add varying aspects of your personality like relevant points in your bio and select colors that embody who you are. For example, I got creative and used the LinkedIn banner on my profile to highlight what I wanted people to know about me:
Your personal brand is not limited to just online though. It’s also about how you make an impression and how you carry yourself in and outside of the workplace. Don’t forget to spend time crafting your elevator pitch of who you are to know what you want to communicate when you meet someone new. Incorporate parts of your story to make yourself memorable and connect with others on a deeper level. At the end of the day, people want to connect with people. Keep in mind that your pitch may change based on the audience you’re speaking to, such as if you’re being interviewed for a new job, meeting someone at a networking event, or getting acquainted with others on a new team or a new company.
Speak up in situations where you have an opportunity to share your thoughts, ideas or opinions to gain visibility and credibility. When you use your voice and put yourself out there, not only do people get to know you better, but you get a chance to exemplify what you want to be known for and the value that you bring.
Connection – Nourish Your Network
As you build your ideal personal brand, it’s important to also build your relationships with others. Make an effort to grow your network and connect with peers and thought-leaders you are inspired by. You can do this by attending events that align with your goals and interests but also taking advantage of the power of social media. You can find relevant Facebook groups that allow you to connect with others who have the same passion points as you. You can build professional relationships on LinkedIn by connecting and getting active on the platform. You can get more personal on Clubhouse and use your voice to connect with others.
The more connections you make, the more you can contribute to different arrays of conversation and begin to get your personal brand recognized. Not only that, but nourishing the relationships you have with others is the secret to career success. When you develop strong connections with others, they are more likely to know your value and vouch for you, whether it’s for a promotion, a job offer, or another professional opportunity.
Confidence – Know Your Power
Once you’ve defined your personal brand, marketed it to others and built connections, doors open. You cultivate stronger relationships and people get to know you better. You receive more feedback, recognition and opportunities. You’re assured that you have something to offer and that you can help others in the value that you bring. So don’t hold back from putting yourself out there. Know what sets you apart from your competition. Own your power and stay strong in who you are. Build and boost your brand and watch as your confidence grows.
You can read more about establishing your personal brand in the workplace here.
Kelly Nash is a Chicago-based writer, career coach, speaker and founder of Lipstick & Ink®. She also works full-time in technology as a Role Strategy and Employee Engagement Manager at Salesforce and has over 12 years of digital marketing experience. Kelly has been featured in Thrive Global, Chicago Tribune, International Association of Women, General Assembly, Salesforce, and SheFactor. She’s fueled by black coffee, sunshine, a good ink pen, and a bold lip.