Five Steps to Building Your Personal Brand (and Why it Matters)
It’s important to differentiate yourself from everyone else who does the same thing you do, or from those who have the same name as you.
If you are an attorney, what makes you different from all the other attorneys in Maine?
If you are a plumber, an electrician, or a contractor, what makes you memorable?
If your name is Jane Smith or Bill Jones, how will people find you online if they Google your name?
You need to create a personal brand so you stand out from the pack, and so you create a lasting impression. If you were coffee, you would want to be the Starbucks of coffee, not just the coffee beans shipped in from the plantation.
Thinking of yourself as a brand may be a new way of thinking for you, but it’s vital in your personal and professional life. Your brand is a promise you make to deliver on your unique value proposition.
As more and more people recognize and connect with your brand, it grows stronger and gains brand equity. This brand equity is your most valuable asset as you build your professional career, and in my view, it adds to personal happiness in life because it makes you a more authentic individual.
Why bother thinking about, and creating, your personal brand?
- It’s what makes you distinctive and memorable.
- It communicates the credentials and integrity of your personal background.
- It establishes your reputation, which is a vital element in your career success.
- Your brand grows stronger over time as more and more people get to know, like and trust you.
A brand is a promise that you make to your family, friends, customers, clients, peers and everyone you meet. It is the reason they trust you, and the reason people like you. It helps you build your personal network of people who will be there for you when you need them, throughout your lifetime. It is only when people know, like and trust you that they will want to do business with you.
Everyone has a personal brand, and your job is to uncover yours and ‘package’ it. Most of all, make sure it is easily found on the Internet.
Here are five easy steps to communicating your personal brand:
- Write a compelling biography of yourself. Don’t use the same language every other attorney/plumber/contractor/electrician uses. Think of how you are different and what makes you stand out.
- Include this biography in the summary section of your LinkedIn profile. This is one of the best ways to become ‘findable’ on the Web.
- Create other content that appears online that expresses your unique value proposition: consider a YouTube video, a Facebook page, or a personal website on about.me.
- Speak and publish: speak to local Rotary and Kiwanis groups and publish opinion pieces in the newspaper expressing your unique point of view and opinion on issues.
- Build your network: the more you get out into the community and get known by others, the more your brand will grow in value.