Updated: Aug 30, 2018
Whether you like it or not – EVERYONE has a PERSONAL BRAND.
People tell me “but I don’t need to worry about my Personal Brand because it’s all about my skills and service, doesn’t matter what I look or sound like?”
WRONG. I don’t respond quite a strongly as that, but I do gently point out that it doesn’t matter what YOU think or whether you need to worry about it, it exists and if you don’t worry about your Personal Brand, then you are saying you don’t care about yourself or your professional reputation.
The other misconception is that people who are employees need not worry about their Personal Brand as well. WRONG. When a future Employer (or current) employer types your name into Google, what comes up? Last years Christmas party? Instagram pics of you dancing in your PJ’s holding a bottle of Champers? You may think that’s normal, but an employer will think something else.
Today’s fierce competition means everyone has to think smart and lower any risk of dismantling your professional reputation. The problem is with online content, you are not in control and photos and links to articles or other content that you weren’t even aware of can end up in the wrong places.
I am a great believer in owning your own URL (web address or close to it as possible) and building a Digital CV. That way at least YOU can have an ONLINE home that has the things you WANT people to see. A CV, a great photo, a list of all your accomplishments, testimonials, a Blog that reflects your creative thinking and proactive attitude. You can CREATE your Personal Brand online. Remember, businesses come and go but you and your Professional reputation will always be there.
Of course a Digital Profile is one of the end touch points of a personal brand, it does start with a back end process that is the bedrock on what to build your assets on.
Where to start, well firstly what is a brand? A brand is not a logo, it’s not product or service and it is not your identity – it’s a meaning. It’s how you connect emotionally or rather how people connect emotionally to YOU? So then you ask the question, what do I mean to people? How can they connect with me? AND importantly, why would they?
Humans are like-minded creatures and love to connect with people who have similarities, who are aspirational and who have real self-confidence.
Controling your audiences similarities will be about targeting your audience later in the process, but firstly creating human similarities is a first step to recognizing yours.
Being authentic and having a good understanding of what you want from your professional and personal life gives an air of confidence that is attractive to others. Yes, it is the big universal question – who are we and why are we here??? But there are some fundamental ways to find out.
I use the process of examining four aspects of being human that I believe drive our personal brand, they are our:
VALUES & BELIEFS
Our values and beliefs are made up from our cultural background, family life, school, relationships; Practical skills – what we can do; Emotional disposition is our emotional way of being (positive, negative, passive aggressive etc.) and Body Image; how we look or THINK we look.
When we examine these aspects in a non-judgmental manner, we can learn how we make decisions and what we base our goals on most of the time. How does this relate to our Personal Brand, well this is what we communicate to everyone we relate with. We walk, talk and move with out personal brand, it’s in the way we dress, we communicate, we story-tell – everything!
When you take this process and incorporate your dreams into your goals, you start to open up possibility and a bigger vision.
But that is not enough. You then have to take what you know about yourself and see how we respond in all those areas. Are we REACTIVE or PROACTIVE.
When we react we give our power away, when we are proactive, we use our power to make informed decisions. This process of looking at how you operate in the world can allow us to see how to be our best self in everything we do. In fact we can find our USP (unique selling proposition) and yes everyone has one, you just have to ask the right questions!
That quick overview of the process I use, is the basis of how to approach marketing yourself online. You can now do that with confidence and clarity in who you are and what you have to offer.
Then the next step, how do you take your PERSONAL BRAND online.
Having been in advertising for over 25 years and working with Iconic brands like CBA and QANTAS, WESTFIELD, AMEX, TOYOTA, REVLON and DAVID JONES, quality and strategic content is imperative. What does that look like for an individual?
It means you need to create quality assets that ILLUSTRATE the YOU that you’ve just mastered, the you that you want to share with the world.
As I touched on earlier, you must have your own URL and create a great still portrait that shows how YOU want people to think of you and a video is great because potential clients and employers can meet you 24/7.
A great video is not just you sitting at your desk talking to camera; it’s about sharing who you are professionally and personally with AUTHENTICITY. Viewers can spot inauthentic behavior immediately and they are unforgiving in that area.
When you are clear on who you are and share WHY you do what you do, that energy and passion will engage and capture your viewer.
Personal Branding is so important today and I guess that’s why I’m now a Personal Brand Expert, it came about because of the need.
I was doing my normal business work with Ad Agencies and after 10 Personal Branding projects with friends and relatives, I realized it’s what people need now and it was working!
People need to be at the top of their game, they need to show their clients, future employers or customers that they are worth investing in and why – immediately.
Everyone is time poor and have little attention span due to many reasons, so that means you need to cut through the clutter fast, nothing cuts faster than clear goals, a confident attitude and a strong online presence. Social media is imperative for any Business or Entrepreneur.
So how does social media fit in, how do you make a difference?
Yes just tweet, FB, blog etc.…. but this is where your Personal Brand is so important – what are you blogging about and why?
When you get to what I call the pointy end of your personal brand, your messages are very directed and targeted. I recently had a client who had about 100 videos of themselves and not many views, my question was why?
It turned out that his messages were not in keeping with his new found Personal Brand and then went on to spend a quarter of the time creating content that had enormous amount of traction. So social media is vital yes, but from my experience – keep it relevant to your Personal Brand.
Audience information is of course key, but I’m sure that’s in another blog post because that subject is HUGELY important.
So briefly on that subject, know who your audience is, even their age, where they hang out, what they want and what YOU can offer them.
I spent along time just talking to myself really and that was okay, but I didn’t get many followers, when I starting asking the right questions about them, it changed.
So your Personal Brand will not only get you being strategic about your message, but about your who your audience is.
Remember, YOU already have a Personal Brand, just take a moment to find out about the product you are selling - YOU.
Find out more about Scarlett Zola Vespa | Personal Brand Expert