Your personal brand can generally be described as how others perceive you. An often used phrase is “what others say about you when you’re not in the room”. Leaving your personal brand to chance can place you at a significant disadvantage, both in the workplace and daily life.
There’s a lot of buzz about personal branding right now. However, the concept and benefits of personal branding are often not clearly understood and often get muddled with life coaching, social media or marketing-led training, which have their place, but are not replacements for personal branding. Let’s unpack the basics of personal branding and the value behind it.
First and foremost, the personal branding process helps you develop a better understanding of your inner brand; a true representation of who you are, which includes your vision, purpose, passions, strengths and values in life. These “core branding attributes” serve as the foundation upon which your personal brand is built. This isn’t about creating some fictional version of you. It’s about identifying what makes you unique, relevant, compelling and memorable; and it needs to be authentic.
By identifying and then communicating what makes you unique and differentiated, you can work towards setting yourself apart from everyone else, both in and out of the workplace. A defined and differentiated personal brand sends a clear, consistent message about who you are, what you are known for, and what you’re good at to help you stand out from the crowd. Every top-selling product on the shelves or internet has a USP — a unique selling point — and you do too, even if you’re not fully aware of exactly what it is at the moment.
Another thing…differentiation can also enhance resilience. A strong personal brand that stands out and offers something unique can better endure economic uncertainty and challenges of a competitive job market.
The second part of personal branding includes looking at outer representations of your brand, or your outer brand: our communication style, presence, personal style and lifestyle. Personal branding helps you develop and express an outer image that creates an impact and sends the right message about you. A strong outer brand can help create a memorable first impression, as well as a lasting one.
In other words, your personal brand is the sum of your inner and outer brand…a complete depiction of how others see you.
By discovering your personal brand, you can start to take better control of your image by making yourself known to others in a smart and authentic way. The personal branding process identifies ways to accurately reflect and amplify your brand to enhance your recognition, reputation and credibility. This includes showcasing your personal brand through different strategies, such as publicity, publishing, networking, and social media. The right brand visibility is important in both professional and personal arenas; it builds your reputation and helps others to better understand who you are and what you stand for. A strong personal brand can help attract new business and uncover opportunities as recruiters and colleagues hear about you or discover you online.
Last but not least, understanding your personal brand can help to define your personal and professional direction. Clarifying your goals and ambitions encourages you to focus and use time and energy into actualizing your purpose and vision. In this way, personal branding helps you to chart a course to your destination, in both your professional and personal life.
Originally published at medium.com