Personal branding has been very hyped up lately, and for good reason. Many people who feel marginalized by the idea of branding themselves now understand that it is inescapable. We all exist as brands, whether we like it or not. That means you Mr. Postman and you Mr. Lawyer! The first step to branding success is to accept that you’re a brand. Like corporate and product brands, you’re able to use the same marketing strategies to build your brand, get recognized and leverage it to either sell products, get a job or become a celebrity in your niche. There are two main reasons why individuals, like you and me, are labeled as brands.
Why we have brands
- We’re all judged based on impressions. And the first impression usually depicts whether you end up dating a girl or guy or whether you get a job or not. Offline, just about everyone we meet will analyze us and decide whether they want to be friends or not. Sometimes it may be on appearance alone and other times, it could be based on a single conversation. People label us based based on personality, appearance and what we actually do for a living.
Online, first impressions work quite differently because our brands are spread out on social networks, blogs and more. The first time someone “meets us” could be after searching for your name on Google or Facebook. Based on the first result for your name on Google, they will make a decision whether they want to talk to you or not. Based on your Facebook picture, you may have another contact or not. In this way, we are attracting and repelling certain types of people, without feeling the pain of rejection (one reason why people like online dating).
- We’re all salespeople. People typically don’t purchase product brands that they haven’t heard of. You won’t get opportunities from those who have never heard of your name and in the same respect, you’ll have trouble securing venture capital if you can’t sell your product (and yourself). At work, we have to sell our ideas to our management, in order to take on new projects and prove ourself. Even with our circle of friends, we are forced to influence them to go see a certain movie or grab a bite to eat. We sell everyday, yet most of us don’t look at ourselves in the mirror and say “I’m in sales.”
What this means for us
A brand is an opportunity to have meaning in your life and to stand out from everyone else around the world. You, yes you, have unique attributes that no one else has. Some of you have discovered what you’re strengths or talents are, while others have either been afraid to reveal them or are still trying to locate them.
The idea of “brand you” (i.e. how we market ourselves to others) is a proven way to position yourself in a niche and become known. The benefits are that people will come to you for your expertise, and the jobs will follow. By investing in your personal brand, you’re able to do more, with less, especially using the power of social media, and succeed beyond your wildest dreams.
Questions you need to ask yourself
Before embarking on your personal branding journey, here are a few questions that will help you learn more about yourself, what you want to do and steer you on the right path to success:
- If you could do one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?
- What was your favorite class in college?
- Who is your rolemodel and what makes him or her so great?
- Describe yourself using 5 attributes (ex. intelligent, vocal, brave)?
- Name 3 strengths and 3 weaknesses that you have.
- How have people labeled me in the past?
- Am I passionate about my current job/career path?