Your Personal Brand Is Much More Than You Think
There's no doubt that today Personal Branding is not only a celebrity, politician or CEO affair. A quick check on Google Trends shows a significant increase in the search for this topic. Individuals are increasingly recognising the value and importance of it and as companies are made by people, they are no exception. Well established organisations such as PWC United States are incorporating Personal Branding in their graduates' program and similarly, respected universities such as ESADE are offering sessions focused on Personal Branding in their Executive MBA career service.
The concept itself is not a new entry. It all started in 1997 with the article ‘The Brand Called You’ by Tom Peters for the magazine Fast Company. In that article Peters called the reader's attention to the rising of branding not only as a subject concerning companies and products but as a way for people to differentiate themselves, stand out and not be confined by their job description.
Before talking about Personal Branding though, we need to understand what a Personal Brand is. This is what I will be talking about here, as part of a series of three articles. The next two will be on the act of Personal Branding.
So, what's a Personal Brand? A Personal Brand is a person's identity. It's who you are, what you do, why you do it and who you do it for. It's what makes you authentic and unique, it's a reflection of your character, values, talents and purpose. It's that immediate idea that pops up in your head when you think about that person. You think of John and you think creativity, you think of Laura and you think leadership. A great example is Steve Jobs. What word comes up in your mind when you think about him? I bet you don't need to think twice, innovation is the word. This is because Jobs had a strong Personal Brand.
A strong Personal Brand is authentic, clear, consistent and visible to its audience. Contrary to what some people think, it’s also not all about you or about creating a version of you that sells. A successful Personal Brand has a mission and ultimately delivers value to others. A memorable Personal Brand is also fearless, it's true to what it stands for and doesn't need to please everyone.
Once we recognise what a Personal Brand is, we can talk about what Personal Branding means, how it works and how you can benefit from it.
If you are now thinking about your Personal Brand and you are a little unsure of where to start, you can begin by asking yourself the following questions:
What am I naturally good at?
What energises me?
What am I most proud of?
What do I stand up for?
What makes me different from my peers?
These are simple questions which nevertheless require a deep reflection, courage and a good amount of honesty with your own self. Take the time to write down your answers and read them out loud. Do they sound and feel authentic to you? Do they conform with what people may want to hear from you or do they stand out? When this is done and you are happy with the outcome, you can congratulate yourself for taking the first most important step in defining your Personal Brand.
Stay tuned for more on the act of Personal Branding, I will explain what Personal Branding means, why it is important and finally how a Personal Branding process works.
Using Aristotle's quote 'well begun is half done'!