You, Inc. – Your Personal Brand
You may not realize it, but you have your own personal brand. You’ve either actively taken steps to create your own brand or unknowingly developed an impression of yourself regarding how people see you. This snapshot displays a specific or array of characteristics and behaviors. Your brand is used to uniquely individualize and depict yourself in a certain way and is used as a tool to help promote yourself.
A successful brand should seamlessly solidify an idea in peoples’ minds on how they view a person, business, product or service. For example, Coca Cola is a product that everyone knows due to the effectiveness of Coca Cola branding. Through numerous marketing and advertising tactics (branding), it has become one of the most popular soda drinks in the world. In conjunction with its inception, Coca Cola created their brand to promote and sell their product. The brand was designed to give the public a perception of Coca Cola products in a multitude of different ways. Coca Cola’s logo, commercials, website, and endorsement campaigns are integrated parts of their overall brand that successfully invoke a positive perception to increase sales.
When applying the concept to yourself, you need to understand the purpose of developing a strong personal brand. The main purpose is to shine a spotlight on what you want to promote whether that be to impress an interviewer for a new job, become friends with a stranger at a party, or persuade your future in-laws that you’re a terrific match for their son/daughter.
So How do I Create a Strong, Positive Personal Brand?
First you need to have a goal in mind related to what you are ultimately trying to accomplish. Maybe you want people to appreciate you as being funny, or kind hearted, or evoke fear because you want to be known as a “tough guy”. It doesn’t have to be one specific attribute, but it needs to promote and advertise those characteristics in social settings to generate specific feelings and perceptions about who you are.
Brands work most effortlessly when they are genuine and true to yourself. You may be able to fake being something you’re not for a period of time, but once people have the opportunity to really know you they’ll be able to peel back the layers and expose those deception. Authenticity is key. It is ultimately counterproductive to try to be something you’re not.
In relation to selling your brand be aware that one of the most effective tools is having other credible people promote you. If someone else will readily vouch for you, the product (you) becomes more meaningful and believable. Sure you can tell your boss you’re hard-working, but if he/she hears it from a co-worker or customer it is more likely to make a strong, lasting impression.
Lastly you’ll want to continuously display what you want people to see. If you exhibit one side of yourself in a certain way one day, and then show a contradictory side on the next, you become an enigma and people can’t pinpoint or believe in your brand. There shouldn’t be any confusion about what you’re trying to showcase in yourself, the more consistent you are the more likely people will view you that way and define you and your brand accordingly. That’s what will help make it a strong, successful brand.