Over the years, several prominent brands such as Apple have encouraged people to “think different”. Nike on the other hand has encouraged people to “Just do it” regardless of age, gender, or physical fitness level. These slogans have become a benchmark today and those who wish to become as successful tend to revolve their personal branding techniques and styles around them.
Not only are these slogans but a huge representation of the companies that stand behind them. It is basically what companies stand for. It reflects and highlights how a company acts and serves people. In a world that is becoming increasingly digital, a strong personal brand is no longer a nice-to-have, rather expected.
Tips on Building a Powerful Personal Brand
Figure out who you are
When it comes to building a powerful personal brand, the first thing you need to know is who you are. Since a powerful personal brand aims to accurately reflect your personal and professional identity, it is important that you are able to determine and put forward your values and principles, etc. You can begin by asking yourself what are the areas you specialize or have expertise in. At the same time, you should also be asking yourself about what motivates you.
Most importantly, you need to determine which type of projects you can work on continuously without feeling overwhelmed. If this is the first time asking yourself such questions, you should ask your friends, family members, and others who are close to you. Since they have been with you for a while as well, they can help you describe more accurately.
However, what you need to keep in mind is that some people struggle to choose a particular niche since they do not want to limit themselves. With that being said, your personal brand like many other evolving brands out there will change as it grows. Therefore, the best strategy is to choose a particular area that you would like to focus on and let it evolve as well.
Determine what you want to be known for
The next important factor in determining what you want to be known for. Your personal brand is going to be a reflection of where you are today. It is going to act as a roadmap indicating where you need to go. In addition to identifying and understanding your competencies and skills, it is suggested that you assess your strengths and weaknesses as well that are related to whichever industry you are trying to enter.
By doing this, you will be able to uncover traits and skills that make you distinct along with the areas where you need to improve and gain knowledge. You should develop a plan/layout which mainly involves forecasting where you want to see yourself in the next five or 10 years along with the attributes you want to be known for. This will allow you to take the necessary steps in order to get there.
Define your audience
Defining your audience plays a key role in developing brands. Before you can even begin crafting your personal brand you need to determine who you are trying to reach or who is your target audience in other words. It might be industry leaders, recruiters at offices, or simply a particular individual. You need to identify and define your audience as soon as possible. The reason is that it will help you craft your story easily as a result.
For instance, if your goal is to reach recruiters and hiring managers, you might want to start with updating your LinkedIn profile. This is because the recruiters make use of LinkedIn when it comes to hiring high-quality candidates. On the other hand, if you are a graphic designer and want to attract new customers, you might want to tell your story via a personal website or portfolio.
Research your desired industry and follow the experts
Once you have decided what industry you plan on breaking into, you should do a bit of research and find out the leaders in that industry as well. The point is not about following them but searching for any online blogs or whatever you could find that allows you to understand and take a closer look into their thought processes and minds. Look for people who are going better, examine their processes and techniques, and then do even better. Part of developing a powerful personal brand involves standing out. However, you cannot rise to the top without taking notice of who is already up there.
Ask for informational interviews
Most people while building their personal brand tend to overlook this factor since ego takes over. The fact of the matter is that asking for informational interviews is you, yourself offering more room to grow. Such interviews might take 20 minutes but will change your perspective each time and broaden your horizon. Therefore, do not be afraid to ask anyone you are interested in learning more from. You will be surprised by the generosity of the people.
Informational interviews can be a two-way process as well. While you are interviewing a particular individual, you can share your part of the story as well which might help you identify your weaknesses and faults. This way, you are going to get a kickstart developing your personal brand.
Prepare an elevator pitch
While you are focused on building a powerful personal brand, you should be spending some time crafting an elevator pitch as well. The elevator pitch is a 30 to 60-second story of who you are. Irrespective of you attending an informal party or a networking event, having an elevator pitch is going to help you describe succinctly what you do and intend to do in the future. Furthermore, your elevator pitch needs to be brief that focuses on a few key points you want to emphasize.
As you cultivate your ideal personal brand, it is important that you embrace networking as well. You need to grow your social as well as professional circle. No matter how much you dislike going to formal and informal networking events, you should make sure that you take out the time to attend such events and get in touch with industry thought-leaders.
The more connections, the more value you can provide during your interactions, and the more likely it is that your brand is going to be recognized. It is estimated that more than 85% of all jobs are filled through networking. Regularly attending these events not only builds your brand but helps you advance in your career as well. While at these networking events, do not hesitate to ask some fellow attendees for an informational interview or a casual coffee talk.
Ask for recommendations
Recommendations can help you tremendously when it comes to defining and developing a powerful personal brand. Just as a business might gather and cultivate customer reviews and testimonials, you can and should cultivate your own reviews in the form of recommendations as well. This is one of the most easiest and effective ways to define your personal brand.
With that being said, LinkedIn is the perfect place to ask for recommendations as these recommendations will most likely catch the attention of future hiring managers. However, at the same time, do not forget to ask the same people to act as an actual reference during your job search. Make sure that they are up for producing a recommendation letter or willing to speak with a potential employer if a situation demands.
While creating a strong and powerful personal brand, you need to consider the changing digital ecosystem as well. Your personal brand should be such that it evolves and grows with time and allows you to grow personally as well. All of this will be possible if you network and remain in touch with the right people who are willing to help you develop both as an individual and brand when needed.