As a professional in any field, you might be wondering if you need to be concerned with personal branding. You might have questions such as: “Does it really matter how I market myself?” or “Would I gain any benefit from spending my time creating a personal branding strategy?”.
The answer to both questions is an emphatic “Yes!”, and there are three separate reasons for this that might surprise you.
Personal Branding gives you a competitive edge.
Just as Corporate Identity helps corporations get ahead of an ever-competitive market, your personal branding can help set you apart amongst your competition. People who have participated in creating a personal branding identity send a consistent message regardless of how prospective clients or employers first come in contact with this.
This consistency establishes an understanding of character and quality of service, from the start which does not exist without personal branding.
The first instinct you may have when developing your personal brand might be to set yourself up as a hero that can solve any problem that is thrown at them. This would be a mistake. The problem with this tactic, is that it positions your consumer in the place of someone needing to be rescued.
Your consumer does not think of themselves this way. Instead, they think of themselves as the hero in their own story. How does this relate to personal branding? Every hero needs a guide. Positioning yourself, and branding yourself as someone who can help others succeed in their own goals whether through your products, your consulting, or your services is a sure bet that you will set yourself apart from other people and brands.
For examples on how to do this, I would recommend Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller. This book will help you to understand the guide position you can take which will improve your success.
Personal Branding helps you become more focused.
In an article on Corporate Identity, Josh Shankowsky states that strategic planning of brands consists of developing five key things:
• Tactics and Actions
• Company Values
These things are easily translated to your personal branding strategy. Have you ever sat down and thought about what you envision for your life? Or what your life mission is? These steps as well as developing goals, tactics, and personal values are measurably valuable when seeking to create focus in your life. This step in your branding processes has also been called Life Planning. There are two reasons why this step in your personal branding is important:
If you know what you want, you can systematically eliminate all things that do not coincide with your personal brand.
When done correctly, you can assess yourself according to your goals and vision creating metrics by which you can measure your success.
Many people avoid making goals because if they don’t know what they are aiming at, they’ll never have to recognize when they miss. Don’t be like these people. Spend some time creating a personal branding plan and execute on that plan step by step until you succeed. Get focused through the process of creating a personal brand.
Personal Branding makes interactions easier.
Whether it is face to face or on social media, what you decide to say is important for your prospective clients, consumers, or even employers. When developing a personal branding plan, you can dial in talking points or messaging statements that will cut through the noise of other interactions and advertisements.
If someone knows what you are about within minutes of meeting you, they are more likely to engage with you on your terms and with a level of trust that could usually take anywhere from a whole evening- multiple interactions to establish. Consistent and clear messaging, even about your own self can have wonderful effects on those you interact with.
Just be sure not to be a salesman about it. Be humble, clear, and tell the truth, but be prepared.
If you are prepared, it makes these interactions easier. If you don’t know what to say when someone asks you “what do you do?” or if you don’t know what to post on social media but you want to be regularly connected, simply reinforce some of your established messaging/personal branding talking points.
Another thing that can be complicated is picking a picture for you social media accounts or the endless array of digital tools you use for your field. Having a corporate headshot takes away limitless exploring for the perfect picture, or trying to take a new picture every time. The consistency of seeing your same picture will matter for all of the reasons stated above.
Over all, personal branding can only help. Whether its by setting you apart in your field, helping you to get focused, or making interactions easier, any effort put into consistent personal branding will not be effort wasted.