Usually, when the topic of branding comes up, it involves a business or nonprofit organization – and usually a huge one at that. It’s important to remember, though, that branding isn’t just for Fortune 500s. In fact, there are a lot of different levels to branding, and your personal brand is one of the most significant.
If you aren’t familiar with personal branding, it’s just what it sounds like: the impressions that others have of you, particularly in your professional life. Or, to put it a different way, it’s the sum of the feelings that customers, colleagues, and even employees have when they think about you. When you consider how often these impressions are passed on, either directly or indirectly, you begin to see what a difference they can make on your career.
In some cases, your personal brand might be even more important than your company’s brand. Here are a few quick examples:
- When a business owner or founder is associated with a company or organization to the point that the two are virtually indistinguishable to customers or members.
- When a salesperson is the point of contact for many different customers, and their relationship with that person is more significant than their preference for one company or another.
- When a key employee or executive moves on to a new position and needs to separate their accomplishments from those of the department or team within their world organization.
As you probably realize, your personal brand is built in the same way that a company’s brand is, with repeated contacts and impressions over time. More important, though, your personal brand is something you can take with you from one project to another, or even one company to another.
With that in mind, here are some quick tips for developing your own personal brand:
Don’t be afraid to take a little bit of credit for your work. If you contribute heavily to your company’s success, don’t shy away from recognition, promotion, and awards. Many of us don’t like to stand out, but that’s the most effective way to build your personal brand.
Make yourself available to the press. Obviously, you don’t want to overshadow your employer, but don’t hesitate to share some professional thoughts and insights, either. By being a contact for bloggers, industry reporters, and others, you can build a network that can help your personal brand grow.
Generate lots of connections. The more people you know, both through social media sites like LinkedIn and in the real world, the easier it is for others to spread your brand for you. Conversely, without important connections, your personal brand doesn’t have any power at all.
Build your own PR machine. In virtually any company there are going to be opportunities to write articles, speak in public, or otherwise be the face of a project or idea. The more often you take these opportunities, the bigger your personal brand is going to get.
For more great marketing advice, contact the team at Effusion for a free consultation today!