Whoever you are, wherever you come from, whatever you do, and in whichever direction your life is heading, you are a brand.
You may not think of using this word when describing yourself because you usually associate a brand with a product or a big company. Regardless of what you think, the reality is still that you are a brand.
What is a brand?!
The industry definition is; A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or other feature that distinguishes one seller's product from those of others. Brands are used in business, marketing, and advertising.
Based on this definition you might think that a personal brand is a name, term, design, symbol or other feature that distinguishes you from other people.
But this way of defining a personal brand is limited, simplistic, inaccurate, and dangerous. Mainly because it gives you the false impression that you own your brand, that you can somehow build a brand by hiring a designer and copywriter, and that a brand is only important if you want to be a public figure.
It's no wonder very few people invest in building their personal brand, which is why very few people achieve success, for success is not the product of hard work, it's the product of building a powerful personal brand.
So what is your brand?
Put simply, your brand is what people think you are.
That means you have a brand whether you actively built it or not, cause people have thoughts about you even if you don't know them, and they know nothing about you!
That also means you don't own your brand; people do, so the only way to build a personal brand is with people, not in isolation of people. You can't commission someone to build your brand for you; you must be involved fully in the process.
And if you have a negative personal brand, anything you create will be viewed negatively, rejected, and will most likely end up failing no matter how hard you work.
Why Building a Personal Brand is a must?
Your level of success in life correlates with your ability to build a personal brand!
So the thought that only public figures must build and maintain their brand is false, everyone who wants to be successful must build their brand.
When you invest time and energy in building your brand, it naturally extends to everything you do and everyone around you.
In the same way, what you do and who you surround yourself with impacts your personal brand, so your parents were right in asking you to hang around good friends in good places :)
What are some of the practical steps to building a personal brand?
1. Start with a Choice of what you stand for:
Everything in life starts with a choice, so does your personal brand, you must choose what you want your personal brand to be and what you stand for.
Answer these questions:
What do you want to be known for?
What are the words you want to come to mind when your name is mentioned?
What do you want to leave people with after they meet you?
What's your legacy in the world?
When you die, what do you want people to say about you?
Answer with authenticity, don't just choose what sounds good, choose what matters most to you.
A good way to test your answers it to think of the words and things you would never want people to say or think about you, they most likely will be the opposite of the answers to the above questions if you answered with authenticity :)
2. Listen and Learn:
Listen closely to what people say about you, and get curious about what makes them say that. Listen deeply to their feedback. Be careful not to make it mean something more than what is said, don't take it too seriously, just listen and ask questions, and never defend, or else people will stop openly giving you any feedback, and you will hurt your brand.
A bonus is that your brand will get a boost in the minds of people the more you listen to them.
In addition to listening and learning from the people around you, you must learn everything you can about what you want to be known for; read books, go to workshops and learn from the masters.
3. Take Action:
More than just your words, your actions shape your brand. If you want your brand to grow and shine, you must take action towards making your vision of the world a reality.
4. Build A Tribe:
The fastest and most effective way to impact how people think about you is to build a tribe of advocates; people who believe in you, believe in your vision and are willing help you. They will talk about you, and share your message with the people they know and the networks they are part of.
Why use social media?
The people you want to impact are on social media. While it's not the only channel to reach them, it's certainly the most ubiquitous. It's also one of the fastest and most efficient.
With the continuous rise of various social networks and apps, social media will stay at the center stage of influencing people's lives, and will be the main way to connect and communicate with people.
Using the massive reach of key social media channels like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to build your personal brand and tell your story will keep fans, customers, and followers engaged.
Using social media to connect with people, publish relevant content anchored in what you stand for you, and share your actions, you can start to build a tribe of engaged advocates, build a powerful personal brand and extend its reach way beyond what you thought is possible.
Would love to hear from you, your ideas, feedback, experience, and questions on this topic and this article.
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