Branding, the buzzword that once described how to make the general public link “Coke” and “soda” has evolved to include a way to market and promote the person. Personal branding involves how to market yourself instead of a product or service. Since the most knowledgeable person about you is you, it is important to convey what you consider to be the best definition of “you.” Branding involves the way you present something to the world, so when it comes to yourself, you want to insure your best and most relevant qualities are put forward.
Find your niche
As with most things, it is easier to focus all your energies in one place versus spread across multiple areas. No matter how many interests you may have when it comes to creating a foothold in a certain area, it is best to initiate self-imposed “tunnel vision” on one specific area. The benefit of zoning in allows you to focus all your energy into entering a certain field and establishing your presence. Your niche needs to be more than just an area you like, but also one where you would like to work and establish your presence . Find the intersection between your personal likes and your career goals and hone in on that.
Construct your voice
Personal branding involves a lot more than just resumes and business cards; you also need to create a unique and personalized voice. Your “voice” is how you interact with others and present yourself to the outside world. It is important that when crafting your voice you make it unique and a reflection of who you are. If you put on airs in an attempt to fit in more with the status quo, people will ignore you. Convey who you are in your interactions while also fitting into the established order and culture. Stand out, but don’t make yourself an outcast.
It is important not to go around changing your opinion every three seconds depending on what choice is most prevalent in the news. Once your personal brand has been established to the point that people are listening to you and viewing you as knowledgeable in a certain area, you don’t want to become erratic. It isn’t rocket science; convey the opinions you have and only change when you see the personal, not professional need to. Along the same lines, you don’t want to publicize opinions that may cause you to become a beacon of unwanted controversy. Perhaps the best suggestion would be to establish your opinions, weigh those opinions on how appropriate they may be, and if they are appropriate, to convey them to the public in a way that is consistent and not wavering with the times.
Establishing all the facets of a personal brand is useless if you don’t work to present yourself to other people. To make your personal brand beneficial and not just a weekend graphic design experiment, you need to go out and present yourself to people. Whether its handing out resumes, going to networking events or even starting a blog and sending it to people in the specific career, you want to make sure all your hard work doesn’t go to waste. Create your personal brand and make sure you proactively use it to either increase your presence or establish it for the first time.
When looking at personal branding as a whole, you become the product. Every time a person tweets or makes a Facebook post about an actor, they are reacting to the person’s personal brand. No matter what career field you enter it is possible to establish your own personal brand, even if you will be marketing another. As the outward representation you are presenting to the world it is imperative that you consider your personal brand as an extension of yourself. Use it, but be aware of the image you are projecting. Just like a resume, it is okay to tweak and improve your personal brand to present the best representation.