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Your personal brand – or what some people refer to as their reputation – is something that stays with you for life.
Don’t believe me? What’s the first thing you think of when you hear Bill Clinton’s name? The good he did for the US economy, or Monica Lewinsky? What about Tiger Woods? Or someone a little bit closer to home, like Anton Casey?
Back in the day, personal branding really only referred to famous people or high profile CEOs who had a media spotlight on them. But today, your brand doesn’t just refer to what you do in your job – it encases everything you do, everyday, both online and offline and inside and outside of the office.
For those of you who are looking to move up the career ladder, it’s imperative you realise that everyone is a brand. The sooner you understand this, the sooner you can use this to work for you and your growing career.
Remember: If you don’t brand yourself, it’s possible other people will do it for you.
So, where do you begin?
Know what your best values are, and what you do better than anyone else
What’s your superpower? What’s the thing you can do that no one else (or very few people) in your sphere of influence can do?
Understand the vision for your personal brand
Companies often have a mission statement to dictate the way they do business and grow as an organisation, so what can’t you do the same for yourself? If you do not understand who you want to be, then no one else will be able to clearly identify your personal brand either.
Think about where you need to make changes to reflect your brand
Outside of the office, you might behave in a certain way – not necessarily a bad way, either – that you modify when you’re at work. People always change the way they act at work, especially if they’re in a more senior position.
Maybe this change needs to extend a bit further out into your personal life? Think about it.
Stay strong to your brand and believe in yourself
What do you think of when you hear names like Steve Jobs, Sheryl Sandberg or Donald Trump?
These are the people with some of the strongest personal brands in the world – but not everyone likes them. And this is okay!
It’s actually quite a good thing to create such a strong brand that you polarise people. Have strong opinions, be able to back them up and share your point of view. Don’t be a pain in the a** for the sake of it, but make sure you live and act in a way you truly believe in.
If you’ve got quirks, own it
Not everything has to be so serious if you are not a very serious person. A common example is Richard Branson, who openly makes fun of himself in a memorable and personable way.
One of my favourite examples of a good personal brand iS actress Jennifer Lawrence who – love her or hate her – has stuck true to her ‘brand’ from day one, saying things like “Where’s the food?” during interviews and laughing at herself when she does things like fall on stage at the Oscars.
Take your brand, and show it off
Like so many things in the business world, networking is key. There’s no point in having a solid personal brand then not letting anyone get to know it/you.
Whether this is done face-to-face or online, people wanting to build a brand for themselves need to get out there and show it off. Make it easy for people to find you. Go to as many relevant gatherings, parties, conferences as possible. Then start a blog, start marketing yourself as an expert in your field. Use your new contacts to get onto a radio show or get interviewed in a magazine.