“Personal branding is what people say about you when you leave the room.”
Having a strong personal brand is no longer a luxury or the result of a long successful career. It is becoming more and more a must to gain visibility, build oneself a strong reputation and stand out. Not having a strong personal brand is increasingly estimated to jeopardize someone’s chances of growth and success. The good news is that anyone can decide to create or reinvent their personal brand. It all starts with the willful intention to do it and having a clear plan.
“Personal branding is what people say about you when you leave the room.” – Jeff Bezos, Founder, Amazon.com. What Jeff Bezos means is that our personal brand precedes us wherever we go and stays long after we leave. You can think of it as your reputation, your footprint, your signature.
It is the ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the minds of others. It involves managing your reputation, looks, attitude, skillset, and online presence the same way that a marketing team would run the brand for a bottle of shampoo. And if you want to stand out, if you want to be taken seriously, if you want people to do business with you, you need to start investing in yourself and building your personal brand.
Tips for building a strong personal brand
Here are 10 tips for anyone who is interested in building a strong personal brand.
Become self-aware of where you are and where you want to be: Self-awareness is the first step to build your brand. With an objective understanding of where you are and a clear vision of where you want to be, it becomes easier to take the needed steps and reach your goals. 360-degree feedback might help. Ask friends and colleagues how they would describe you and use this as your baseline. At the end of the day, other people’s perception is a reliable indicator of one’s personal brand.
Find your genius zone: It is where your greatest passion meets your innate talent. This zone is unique to you, fitting your strengths, personality, and talents like a finely tailored suit. Finding your genius zone will make the process of creating your personal brand easier and much more enjoyable because you would be tapping into your own strengths and getting one step closer to fulfilling your purpose.
Upgrade your appearance/style: Invest in your wardrobe and pay attention to the details of your grooming. Identify your company’s culture, find your style personality, and dress accordingly. Your appearance will reinforce your brand in the minds of others.
Clearly define and state your brand promise: A brand is a promise that you make and should be known for keeping. “There is no better reputation you can have, other than for people to say that, when they do business with you, you always fulfill your promises.” – Brian Tracy.
Build Relationships: This applies to peers, subordinates, superiors, colleagues, acquaintances, influencers, etc. both online and offline. If you happen to be in touch with influencers, go meet them, promote their books, share their content and comment on their blog posts.
Be Visible: To be effective, your personal brand must be repeatedly and consistently seen. If you’re not out there, talking, connecting, networking, getting involved and noticed, your brand won’t be that strong. Very often, people will hire you, connect with you, refer you, buy from you, just because they have seen you around a lot.
Utilize social media: Social platforms like Facebook and Instagram are visited by millions several times a day. Take advantage of that to connect with members of your community, engage with them, share content, and promote your product and services. If you’re a digital influencer, the number one thing that you should do is thank people and respond to their comments. Promise your followers a return on investment for engaging with you.
Master business etiquette: Understanding and applying the basic concepts of business etiquette is essential for building a strong and sustainable personal brand. Ultimately, it is about communicating your brand while professionally nurturing business relationships.
Practice What You Preach: “Your behavior behind closed doors, must match your public brand. One of the greatest brand claims you can get is for people to say that you are the same on the outside than on the inside.”- Brian Tracy
Be real: Remember your personal brand is precisely that, personal. Build your brand while being loyal to who you are, this is what will eventually pay off. In the words of Gary Vaynerchuk: “Be who you are, not who you wish you were. More than aspirational, your story must be real. The truth is the truth. Don’t pretend to be somebody you’re not.”
It needs Patience
Most importantly, remember that establishing a strong personal brand and building a growing audience takes time and consistent effort. It needs patience! But if you have a unique voice, valuable contributions, and a great self-packaging, you can rapidly join the growing ranks of the leaders in your field.
About the author
Carla Khoury is an image consultant and a personal branding expert. Her mission is to help executives, business people and entrepreneurs build their personal brand, upgrade their image and maximize their chances of visibility and growth.
Her wide professional experience of 10+ years allowed her to work in various fields related to HR, HR consulting, corporate image consulting, and career coaching. She offers coaching sessions, training/workshops and customized programs for professionals, executives, and career shifters willing to build, strengthen their personal brand and realize their full potential.
She is a certified corporate image consultant from the Studio for Image Professionals in New York and a business graduate from the American University of Beirut.