What on Earth is Personal Branding?

Think about your favourite brand. Don’t tell me you don’t have one. If you are a consumer, there is a brand that you love. Some examples of really strong brands are David’s Tea, lululemon athletica, Urban Outfitters, Starbucks, Crocs. People can also be brands. For example Beyoncé, the KardashiansKate Middleton, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Dominic Monaghan, Steven Colbert… the list goes on. If you don’t love any of those brands, then I’m sure you can think of one or two public figures who you admire. While we often admire public figures for their talent, their skill, their charisma, or their accomplishments, it’s a strong brand that makes us really remember a person. A brand is that impression we get from companies or celebrities and is often what makes them so memorable.

Branding can either enhance or undermine the talents or accomplishments of a public figure, depending on how it is managed. When a person’s brand is effectively managed, it can work absolute magic. Beyoncé is a great example. While she is extraordinarily talented, she is also well-presented online and in public. She is clear and consistent in her message, which is to live her truth through her art, and to inspire women everywhere to dream big. She recognizes that as a female business owner, she is a role model, and is passionate in her desire to inspire others. This self-awareness about her public image shows through in her personal branding, and makes her fans love her more.

I know you’re not a public figure and I know you’re not Beyoncé, but knowledge about personal branding can benefit the everyday person as well. Personal branding can help you get a job, grow your career, find your truth, and live it. Trust me I’m not crazy. Keep reading to find out how.

Building your brand

In order to build your brand, start by looking at your social media profiles. What does your Twitter bio tell you about yourself? If you don’t have a Twitter bio, write one and see what words come to mind. Twitter is a great microcosm of your personality.  It allows you to be honest with yourself about how you want others to see you. You have 160 characters to make a first impression, so try it out. The next time someone asks the oh-so annoying question, “What do you do?” try to use what you wrote or what’s in your Twitter bio to answer. You’ll like the outcome.

Showing your brand

Once you have a clearer idea of who you are, what you stand for, and what you want to present to the world, align all of your social accounts to communicate your message. Change your bio on any and all of the online accounts you have. This will serve two purposes. First, it will help reinforce your brand and self-image for yourself. And second, it will allow others to see the true you when they Google stalk you.

Living your brand

After updating your Twitter bio and other social accounts to match your message, start living it. Your brand should come from a place of truth and honesty, so living it should not be difficult. However, I’ve met a lot of people who hold back from living their truth due to a lack of confidence. Building and showing your brand ought to boost your confidence about who you are and what you’ve got to offer, it’s worth bringing that message forward and sharing it with the world. Once again, the next time someone asks, “What do you do?” you’ll be prepared to answer from a place of honesty and integrity, not to mention general awesomeness.

Your brand is a constant work in progress

Personal branding is never over. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve re-branded myself. Every time I change my mind about what I want to be when I grow up (which is often) I re-brand completely. Part of this is an experiment to see if I like the look of a certain career path, part of it is a way to assert the truth to myself. If anyone has kept track of my LinkedIn profile and Twitter bio for the last 2 years they’d think I was having some sort of identity crisis. The good news is, I really don’t think anyone has kept track of the changes.

If you feel overwhelmed by any of this don’t worry. Take it slow and from a place of honesty.  If you approach personal branding with pure integrity, then it will not lead you astray. Branding takes practice and work, but it’s worth it. A strong personal brand will help you build your resume, write stronger cover letters and perform better in job interviews. Also if you’re feeling a little lost, an exercise in personal branding can help you figure out what you’d like to do with your life.

The world is waiting to see your integrity shine through. What are you waiting for?

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