When you think of branding, the first thing likely to come to mind is corporate branding. Large companies such as Apple and Nike have mastered the art of brand positioning and recognition.
However, branding isn’t solely reserved for companies. Everyone, including you, has a personal brand. Essentially, your personal brand is what others think when they hear your name.
Understanding and strategically developing your personal brand can help advance your career and assist with your nonprofessional relationships. A strong personal brand can open the doors to new and exciting opportunities and help you build long-lasting connections.
Creating a personal brand identity can be a challenging process. You’ll need to think about it strategically and how you want others to view your story and accomplishments.
Here's why a personal brand is more important than ever, as well as how to create and develop an attention-grabbing personal brand.
What Is a Personal Brand and Why Is It Important?
A personal brand is similar to a corporate brand in many ways. It’s how others perceive you based on who you are: your values, talents, accomplishments, and the unique position that separates you from everyone else. A personal brand helps you communicate your identity and value to potential employers, clients, and others in your network.
A strong personal brand should be unique and authentic; it should display a sense of trustworthiness and evoke emotion. It can help you establish a powerful reputation that will boost your personal and professional relationships.
How to Create a Personal Brand Identity
You’ll need to think strategically about how you want to communicate your brand to others. However, crafting a solid personal brand identity most likely won’t happen overnight. Here are our top four tips to help you hone in on your brand:
1 - Determine What Makes You, You
Since a personal brand identity is designed to reflect who you are, your values, accomplishments and the skills you possess, the first step is to think deeply about what separates you from the crowd.
Create a list of your strengths and weaknesses. You may want to ask yourself:
- What motivates me?
- What are the driving factors that inspire me every day?
- In which areas of life do I excel?
- Where do I want to be toward the end of my career?
- What impact do I want to have on the world?
While this isn’t an exhaustive list, it’s an excellent starting point to think about what makes you, you. If you’re struggling to find answers, you may want to ask your family, friends, or co-workers. Their input can help you formulate accurate solutions.
Once you’ve defined your unique position, you can start cultivating an image of yourself that will be the foundation for your brand identity.
2 - Establish Your Unique Value Proposition
Establishing your unique value proposition is where you can showcase those differences. Your value proposition should be a short statement that encompasses what you uniquely bring to the table.
Before creating your value proposition statement, you’ll need to consider the strengths you listed in the previous step. Your strengths are the foundation of your value proposition. Once you’ve nailed down your strengths, you want to formulate a way to build a brand around them. This step can help you establish a trustworthy and credible brand.
3 - Define Your Audience
A critical factor in developing a personal brand is determining whom you’re trying to target. Are you aiming for other industry thought leaders? Industry professionals? Other academics or subject matter experts? A specific individual at a company? A potential new client?
The faster you understand your target audience, the simpler it will be to develop an angle for your story. As a result, you’ll realize the type of story you want to tell and what medium to use.
4 - Create an Elevator Pitch
As you start to think and visualize your personal brand statement, you want to consider crafting an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is generally a 30 to a 60-second story about who you are. If you’re attending a networking event, an elevator pitch is an easy way to communicate to others who you are, what you do, and where you plan to go with your career.
Everyone’s elevator pitch will be different, but successful elevator pitches usually contain the following elements.
- Introducing yourself
- Stating your company’s mission
- Explaining the company’s value proposition
- Grabbing their attention with a hook (Call to action)
It’s essential to keep your elevator pitch short by concentrating on a few key points. Some things to include can be your strengths within a particular niche or industry, that you’re looking for a new role or a brief story where you recently increased the value of your company.
Branding isn’t only for large companies trying to reach the masses. Developing a personal brand in today’s highly competitive market is almost a necessity. Creating one that highlights your skills and values and is unique, authentic, and credible can help separate you from the competition or attract new clients. Building a personal brand takes serious consideration and the ability to be honest with yourself.
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