“Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos, Amazon
In a world full of brands, who needs one more?
And the brand we’re talking about is, namely, you.
The question is no longer whether you want to make a personal brand of yourself. It’s about whether you are actively managing and setting the direction of this brand, as it leads a life of its own anyway. From your digital footprint to people’s associations with your name, it all comes down to you as a brand.
The first step to take control over the brand called you is to check out what the world knows and talks about you.
And then comes the creative part: you need to dig deep in yourself and find your personal story, the authentic story of yourself that will delight the world.
Taking the brand You in your own hands
As these days it’s not about choosing whether you want to have a strong personal brand, taking control of your branding has become a must for young professionals. People will inevitably start associating you with things: so it’s better if you learn to orchestrate this process as much as possible.
It’s a good idea to start with your online presence, as it’s so easy for your online persona to start living its own existence. How you position yourself on social media – through the visuals and content you share – is essential to the way both your friends and professional connections will perceive you. And while being quirky and open is certainly a plus, sticking to a consistent image of yourself is even more important.
A good tip here is to pay special attention to the content you share online. If you carefully curate the materials you post, you can create real value for your friends and followers. This will make them associate your name with positive qualities and most importantly – they will see you as somebody who brings them useful information.
Curating your online interactions is another essential factor here. Engaging with interesting people online is just like mingling with the fun guys at a party. If you’re upbeat and open, you’re going to have a great night in the best of company. And you never know how each new acquaintance can influence your life!
Find your own story
Yet for any of these external efforts to be fruitful, you need to look inwardly first. While it may sound too commercial, especially in your professional interactions, seeing yourself as a brand can be very useful. Especially when done in the right proportions!
Just as successful brands need good brand stories, you have to dig deep in your personal history and connect the dots of your own story. What brought you where you are today? What internal or external factors pushed you to choose this field of study or career path? Was it your family history, a difficult moment, an inspiring friend or teacher?
Remember, when it comes to stories with which we present ourselves in the world, authenticity always wins. People can tell a difference between a genuine narrative and something you’ve made up to seem flashy. So keep it real and find that unique story that is your own – and nobody else’s.
… And share that unique you with the world
Once you’ve found the narrative of your life that speaks genuinely about you and your qualities, it’s time to share it with the world. You can perceive this as the original content the brand called You will create and spread out.
Then, how to do that – how to market yourself and your awesome story? Needless to say, visibility is crucial here. A branded personal website that showcases your work and creative spirit can be truly inspirational to others. Why not even start a blog, sharing useful information in your business field and subtly telling the world your story, with every new post?
There are also services such as About.me that you simply should be using. About.me gives you the possibility to create a great and clean webpage presenting yourself, which serves the function of an online profile where you can share your interests. They also added the Backstory feature that is a neat alternative to the boring LinkedIn profile. It gives you the freedom to present your professional experience but add your own personality to the profile too.
Keep in mind that to share your story successfully and become a well-known brand, you don’t need to be extremely active. It’s much more important to have a consistent flow of engaging updates from your side. You can have a visual blog, like Tumblr, or use your hipsterish Instagram photos.
Remember, it’s not about spamming people with photos of your dinners, but about sharing something that adds to your unique personal brand. Or something that shows your special skills and your authentic story. So write on – and ride on!
Picture credits: www.pixgood.com, www.b2bmarketing.net