Written by: Katrina Lubiano
Personal branding is the practise of marketing oneself as a brand. As this brand, you’re telling a story about your professional experiences, skills, and aspirations to a target audience. Whether you realise it or not, everything about you anyone could perceive online and in-person including your CV, social media channels, how you dress, your mannerisms, and the brands you purchase all contribute to your personal branding.
A stellar personal branding will open opportunities for your career and business--it's the best networking tool at your disposal. When you put yourself out there as a well-polished recognisable brand, you'll find your tribe of people who will want to connect with you.
Establishing your personal brand can be a tricky task when you consider all the elements that make you, uniquely you. Branding yourself forces you to take a moment of honest self-reflection on your past experiences and consider your long-term goals. Whether you're looking to take major steps in your career, find a new role, or attract new clients/customers for your service or product, we've rallied our favourite pointers to help you put your best face out there and hone in on your personal branding.
Personal brand statement
Simon Sinek, author of the global bestseller, Start With Why, argues that people don’t buy WHAT you do but WHY you do it: “By WHY I mean what is your purpose, cause or belief? Why do you get out of bed every morning? Why should anyone care?” People gravitate towards values that they can relate to.
Your personal brand statement should be rooted in your values. It's a 1-2 sentence bio that sums up your professional bio: what you do and why. Keep your personal brand statement simple and elegant. If you can’t deliver your brand statement clearly within the time of a short elevator ride, your branding needs some clarity.
The biggest problem most people face at this stage is narrowing down their "why". Being too broad in your professional goals is a much bigger challenge than specialising. Pick a discipline and master it. Be willing to step away from work in order to make room for the work you want to be doing. This will set you apart from your competition in the market.
People are very good at calling out inauthenticity. Using your own voice allows people to feel like they know you and your brand making it more memorable and easier to connect to.
Never proclaim yourself a ____ expert, guru, or the best _____ in your personal brand statement. It’s not your job to praise yourself in your personal branding. Let others decide and testify for your competence when you’ve delivered a performance rewarding it. Using these praising adjectives in your job description translates as false confidence in your abilities. Instead, tell your authentic story: what brought you to this moment?
On the opposite spectrum, you don’t want to sound like a robot either. Steer away from using boring corporate jargon like: “Marketing professional with extensive experience, skilled in logistics and market research for Company A.” This doesn’t say anything about you as a human being and it makes it difficult for others to relate and connect with you.
It’s much simpler to be human and express yourself in your own voice. After all, we’re assuming the person on the other end is human too. Your personal brand statement is not your job title. “A personal brand statement is memorable, punchy and solution-oriented” (Undercover Recruiter). Ask a friend/family member/ or colleague what they think of your personal brand statement. Does it sounds like words that you would naturally use?
Have you googled yourself?
Chances are your customers, clients, and potential employers have. Do your homework and take a look at what the internet has to say about you. According to SHRM, 84% of hiring managers use social media for hiring. Remove any negative or irrelevant photos, posts, old websites, etc.. that won’t serve your current brand.
Building a personal website is an excellent project for building a stellar personal brand and earn you some internet street-cred. You can purchase an affordable domain with your own name with websites like WIX, Squarespace, and Persona to create a hub of information to tell your story, show work you’re proud of, and demonstrate your knowledge. There are no hard-set rules on personal websites which gives you so much space to express your creativity.