Say you’re participating in a talent show and you need a backup singer, who is the first person you think of? Imagine you have an internship application that requires a headshot, who is the first photographer that comes to your mind? I’m sure the people that you just imagined are those that have strong personal brands. When people know who you are and what you can do, you become the go-to person in your area of expertise. This could provide income opportunities for you and ways for you to meet new people. Now, I understand that cultivating a brand can be tough but with these five tips, you’ll be well on your way to having a strong personal brand.
Understand Your Mission
Your personal brand is just like the one of a professional brand or business. The brand should be clear of what the person does just a company’s brand is evident of what service it provides. That being said you should be able, to sum up in a sentence or two of what you want your brand to be. For example, my brand, “The Chris Sumlin’s” mission is to add value to people through authentic experiences. Everything that I put out via my website, youtube channel or Twitter is going to have some thread of adding value to people through sharing my experiences. The Beyonce Resume tips video was created with the intention of helping college students with their resumes from errors that I had made in the past. Dealing With This Thing Called Life, was written with the intention of inspiring people through my mishaps and experiences. When coming up with your mission statement, everything that you do should stem from that mission.
After you understand your mission and vision statement, it is imperative that it aligns with who you are as a person. No one is perfect or going to get it right every time, but there should be some congruence in what you put out and who you are. For example, your brand should not be about you teaching others how to be a 4.0 student if your grades don’t or have ever reflected that of a 4.0 student. Consumers like brands they can trust and are credible. No one trusts a person who claims to do something that they can’t back up. The brand of Herberto Horne (the founder of TPgent.com) is one of lifestyle and being the perfect gentleman. Everything he puts out has a thread of a gentlemen lifestyle. When you meet Herberto in person, he exudes the same principles that he teaches online. This is the kind of authenticity you should aspire to obtain when constructing your personal brand.
The main differentiator between a credible brand and one that isn’t is the quality of the content that the brand pushes out. When building your brand make sure that you are one that provides quality service or content to people. Whether you’re a writer, photographer or fashion designer the service or product you provide should be one of quality. That standard of quality will be different from one brand to the next but always aim to be the best you can. Your personal brand is an investment. The investment may be one of time or money but be willing to make the necessary sacrifices to create a strong brand.
Consistency is key with anything. Branding is something that you build over time. It will not happen overnight. Whatever your service is keep producing content. The average successful YouTuber puts out a video a week. You should map out a schedule and stick to it. Being consistent makes your brand credible and reliable.
You are your biggest advocate. Informing people of your brand and what you do is a great way to get started. Try to be as vocal as you can in person and through social media. If you don’t believe in you and your brand no one else will. I’m not advocating that you conduct yourself in a way that’s overly obnoxious and abrasive but find ways where you can politely tell others of your brand. What do your social media handles look like? Do they showcase your best products and service? Evaluate whether you need business cards or not? Every brand should have an online presence. What does your website look like? Do all of the handles above have a thread that speaks to your personal mission statement? These are questions you can ask yourself when developing a personal brand.
These five steps above can be overwhelming, but the reward is well worth it. A strong personal brand comes with many benefits. Whether you are trying to be popular on campus, job searching or starting a new business branding is so essential and can only assist you in your goals.
If you have a brand and have questions feel free to comment in the section below. Also, what have you done that works to get your brand going? Connect with me and let me know. I look forward to hearing from you. Good luck in creating your personal brand.