Personal branding is a process where individuals differentiate and position themselves in a specific way to become better known for certain traits, knowledge, or skills. Personal branding is becoming increasingly common in a modern, online, workforce.
Developing a personal brand is a great tool to guide your actions and decisions at work. A strong personal brand will help you discover projects that you want to be involved in or areas of the business where you can step up and assume a leadership position. It can also be used to judge opportunities and inform your career decisions.
For example, if you’re trying to develop a personal brand as a creative thinker, it would be better to offer to help marketing with an upcoming campaign than it would be to help drive the logisitcs of a company event. But, if you want to define yourself as an amazing project manager, that company event is probably right up your alley. So, having your brand statement for reference can really help you focus in on things that will be relevant to your personal growth.
With a strong idea of your personal brand, rather than just joining every initiative that comes your way (or worse, joining none), you can be more strategic and pick projects that will be a better fit for your ideas and passions.
This post will show you how to develop and maintain your personal brand.
Step 1: Figure out where you are
To get started, assess your current skillset.
The days of staying in one job for the majority of your career are over. Government research has shown that people change jobs an average of 11 times throughout their career. While this means more opportunity, it also means that people are changing directions and choosing more than one career track.
So, If you haven’t done an assessment of your career lately, do it now.
You can use lists, mind maps, a white board, a napkin, or a frank conversation with a trusted colleague, but do a review of your current talents, skills, passions, and loves.
If you need some structure, complete a personal SWOT Analysis based off of the grid below.
Step 2: Decide on what you want to be known for
So, you know what you’re good at and where you can use some improvement.
Based on that information, think about how you want to be known a year from now:
- What niche do you want to specialize in?
- Who do you want your peers to be?
- What would you like to be an expert on?
- Do you want to improve a weakness or capitalize on a strength?
Answering these questions can build the foundation of your personal brand.
If one of your strengths is identifying inefficiencies in business, maybe you want to be known as an expert on productivity. If you love participating in social media, you might want to be known as the person in your industry that can help other businesses get their social media efforts off the ground.
If you’re not sure yet, think about the areas where you’re already helping people out. Do people come to you with artwork questions, or for advice on how to handle a sticky situation with a customer, or for the perfect product suggestion? I’ll bet you’re already somewhat well known for something and can start building your brand around that strength.
Step 3: Connect and create
Now, get out there.
Find people who are interested in the same things as you. Connect with them, chat them up, look at resources they recommend, and send them links to information that you find useful.
Then create. You need to get word out about your brand and the best way to do that is to create, create, create. Artwork, presentations, podcasts, lists, blog posts, illustrations, guides. And, do it regularly.
Some ways to get started:
- Put together a presentation and share it on Twitter, LinkedIn, or commonsku
- Join your a local or regional promotional products association and network
- Organize an event or meet-up
- Write your own blog, guest post, or submit an article to an industry trade publication
Step 4: Never stop learning
Read, listen, and watch a variety of topics both related and unrelated to your area of specialty. Keep an eye out for new trends or new thought leaders that come onto the scene. As you are listening, reading, or watching participate in the conversation by offering your own critiques or observations.
Step 5: Share
The best company brands listen to their customers. The same should be true of your personal brand. Listen to the people who are engaging with you and find out what you can do to help them. Send along helpful links, put people in touch with each other, and share stories from personal experience.
One extra task…
After you’ve completed all of the steps, go back to the beginning and start over again. Yep, this is a process that never stops. Every once in a while, you need to take a step back from what you’re doing to make sure it all still jives:
- Is what you’re writing about still something that you love?
- Are people still asking your for help on the same things?
If the answer to either of those questions is no, it’s time to go back to Step 1 and readjust your path.
commonsku helps you strengthen relationships and grow your business. We marry a social network with powerful crm and order management to connect the supply chain. You can read more information at commonsku.com or stop by to say hi on twitter, facebook, or pinterest.