How to Establish Your Personal Brand
Contributing Writer: Chris Villanueva, CPRW
Everyone has their own personal brand whether they know it or not.
But here’s the caveat: Most people don’t know they can easily impact the direction, strength, or even awareness of their brand – and use it to their advantage. This article is going to give you some tips on how to do just that.
The importance of brand.
When I usually hear the word “brand,” the first thing that comes to mind are those big corporate brands such as Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Nike, etc.
But did you know that having your own brand can be just as impactful for yourself as it is for these companies? Having a solid brand can…
- Give you more direction in your career.
- Help your social life flourish.
- Take your confidence to new heights.
- Boost others’ confidence in you!
- Open up doors for promotion in the future.
- Further your professional connections.
- Strengthen the connections you already have!
Here are four things you can do at right now to start developing your personal brand:
- #1. Define what your brand is and what you love doing.
- #2. Rework your elevator pitch.
- #3. Do a social media audit.
- #4. Involve yourself in the community.
#1. Define what your brand is and what you love doing.
When it comes to developing your brand, don’t over-complicate it.
What’s the main thing that you find yourself doing on a daily basis? (And if you truly don’t associate with your daily activities, what’s the one thing you can’t wait to do when you have the free time?)
For me, it’s helping other people move forward in their careers. I love helping people rebrand themselves with fresh resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and cover letters.
Believe it or not, it took me a while to realize that this was my brand! I spent a lot of time doing it, but I hadn’t really associated it with my identity. It was just something I did whenever I got into “work mode.”
Now that I am aware that it is something that I am more confident in, it became a part of me, and I am able to spark more interesting conversations by integrating it into my daily interactions.
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy: Recommended Watch
Netflix’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy shows off some of the most powerful examples of rebranding.
The show’s premise: a fabulous cast of 5 work on rebranding the common man (or man who struggles in several areas of his life). The show is brilliant. I enjoyed an episode where the show rebrands comedian Joe Gallois, helping him to embrace his identity as a funny man and own his image with confidence.
The show’s culture expert Karamo Brown has this to say about brand and how you can pick the right brand for you to own:
“A lot of time the brand that people are going to respond to most is right there in front of you. What you’re doing everyday is your brand. That is exactly what you love. Don’t try to create something new because you’re trying to follow social media.”
We stand by Brown’s assessment, and we hope this gives you some clarity on what your brand needs to be!
#2. Rework your elevator pitch.
When you first meet someone, what is the first thing they will most likely ask other than your name?
“So, what do you do?”
Guess what. Most people say the most boring thing possible.
“Hi, nice to meet you…Yes, um…Yes, I work as an administrative assistant.”
(They say with a level of uncertainty).
They might as well say, ”Please stop listening and asking about what I do because you’ve heard this story a billion times.”
What do you really do? What do you love doing? Beyond your daily job descriptions, what is the #1 thing that you help your company accomplish?
I would recommend transforming your tired elevator pitch to a professional mission statement that captures interest (or at least goes beyond your job title). We may even recommend using your statement as a potential LinkedIn headline! (For more of that, please continue reading).
Let’s say after some deliberation, your thing is improving efficiency in the office.
“I improve workplace efficiency and productivity through administrative assistance for executives in the technology industry.”
Then, after saying that aloud once, you refine it to be more simple:
“I improve workplace efficiency for executives in the tech industry.”
This – to me – is much less boring that simply stating your title, which doesn’t tell you much.
Practice stating your elevator pitch aloud. It is not going to sound natural at first, so this is why we recommend saying it a few times.
Trust us, you are going to use this over and over again whenever you meet people in a business or personal setting (cough, cough, first date).
To the doubters:
There may be cynics out there who will simply say:
“Yeah, sound fancy, but I’m just an administrative assistant. Let’s be honest here.”
Well, to that I say— fine! If that’s all you consider yourself (just a title), then go right ahead and say it. You’re right. Then there is nothing special about what you do. There is no value proposition. And if you are trying to make a career transition or get promoted, then good luck, because you just sold yourself short!
Instead, we say get over yourself and start rebranding, baby! …Because the truth is that when you start to rethink how you portray yourself in these personal interactions, you will come across as much more confident and interesting.
#3. Do a social media audit.
Here’s the fun part. It’s time for a makeover. Gone are the days where our brand is only present when we show face. In the online world, we are everywhere at every time of the day.
Someone in France at 3:00 AM could be looking at your LinkedIn profile saying, “My, what a charming software developer this person is.”
Therefore, it’s incredibly important to do whatever you can to manage your image online and use it to your advantage. Here are some places you can start (with hyperlinks) to improve these areas:
- Is your LinkedIn headshot (or Facebook photo) outdated or not the best photo?
- Any embarrassing photos you need to get rid of?
- Is your LinkedIn summary bland or lacking information?
- Is your LinkedIn headline just your current position?
- How often are you posting “brand-related” items? (We recommend posting once a week to involve yourself in your online world).
#4. Get out there, baby!
There are heaps of great articles online about how to develop your own personal brand. They give you a bunch of detail on what your thought process should look like when you are developing your own personal brand. Do you know what most of these articles are lacking?
It’s one thing to write down everything on a piece of paper, but without action, you will have absolutely no chance to showcase or develop your brand.
Go out and start attending events. Attend a Meetup.com event and connect with other people who can help with your brand.
For instance, if you defined your brand as a quirky, yet passionate web design superhero, then you need to attend a Web Design Meetup. (And if there is no Web Design Meetup, you should start that group yourself!)
Why is it essential for you to get out there?
The key is to surround yourself with people who can give you feedback on your brand and start allowing you to live your brand. Otherwise, everything will stay in your head, and you will never be able to let it flourish to where it could be.
No matter if you are a millennial or not, it’s important to remember that you should constantly be growing and learning to better yourself in your industry. Find out what works for your brand and then rework it until you are an absolute all-star.
Wrapping it up:
We absolutely hope that you found these tips to be helpful. Remember that your brand is an ongoing, ever-evolving thing. So if you’re not happy with where you are now, change it. If your brand stops serving you in the future, you can always change it. Just remember to have an awareness of your brand so you can use it to your advantage!
If you want even more tips on how to improve your resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn (keywords, headline, etc.), then we highly recommend you subscribe to our career score newsletter, which also will assign you a score based on how good your resume is. (Heck, we’ve been reported to have helped people land a job or two, and this is one of our best resources).