Everyone you meet around the corner thinks that they are the real deal, that he or she is a one of a kind, a unique being with an exceptional story. Every job seeker shouts that he or she is an industry leader, the right man for the job and someone with the single most valuable asset that can take the company to the next level.
Well, in a world where over seven billion people go around trying to make a name for themselves, in an online society with millions of interactions and connections shaping everything from the employment market to the dating world, it is virtually impossible to come along and claim that you can stand out, make your voice heard and get the attention of the right people.
This is where personal branding comes in handy because in the company of YOU, there is plenty of marketing that can be enacted in order to turn the once unknown guy into a household reference and center of attention! And for those who still don’t know what your brand is, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, explains that “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room” – genius !
Now there are three essential keys to keep track of when it comes to personal branding, three foundational elements that you’ll have to adopt in order to get the most out of your mission.
1. Know Who You are: Self-Evaluation Reflects Brand Valuation
Generation Y – the most innovative, determined and independent generation of all time, knowing what they want to be, what they want to have, where they want to get and how they´re going to get there – but sometimes, venturing through this long and complex process, we tend to forget who we are.
You see, self-consciousness has become a very vague and immeasurable trait due to the wired and unsocial social networks we so have been relying on as an online generation, which frankly, is devastating. Self-evaluation is like detailing an assessment plan for a company before reshaping it. You should always have a good sense of your strengths and weaknesses, your skills and what you are known for, your personality and how it strikes others. Needless to say, ignoring certain negative aspects of yourself is damaging, so being objectively honest with yourself is crucial and facing your flaws is imperative!
Yes, personal branding is very much a like corporate branding, except the only difference is that personal branding needs to be based on true assets and qualifications. If corporate marketing is about fabrication to manipulate the client base, personal branding is about marketing what you really have, so a good way to start is by establishing what your entourage thinks of you and what you think of yourself.
So man up, get your shit together and remember that who you are reflects on your personal brand, meaning that with uncertainties and blurry concepts of who you are will only reflect on your personal brand as vague, inconsistent and immeasurable.
2. Establish Who You Know: Someone Needs To Pull Some Strings Once In A While
This surly cant be anything new, as you always hear someone discussing the importance of social media, so I honestly cant stress enough on the fact that you should use various outlets extensively to promote your image. Always share important content that reflects well with the industry you want to be associated with. But don’t overdo it, sharing every interesting, innovative and motivational article on your social mediums – people will eventually get sick of it.
You presence on social online platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn is just as important as anything else if not the most important. It’s a global stadium that occupies the world’s population at its spectators, allowing personal content to flow freely amongst your desired people allowing yourself to be remembered as a reference in your industry – establishing a network. By launching Facebook groups, running your own Youtube videos or even starting a blog establishes yet another layer for your brand to leverage on, allowing your surrounding to get an insight of how good you actually are. And let’s face it at the end of the day, your network is your networth, and if you don’t know the right people who can pull and play with the right strings every now and then, your professional prospects wont be looking so good.
Social spectrum sure do bring a lot to the table when it comes to branding yourself, but it also gives you an insight on how the industry your in is changing – keeping you up to date. Go ahead and like pages that will benefit your newsfeed (no that doesn’t include Memes…) and stimulate your interested in order for you to always stay ready for potential updates on the latest goings on. Why you ask? Well just ask Michael Scott who tells you to “Adapt. React. Re-Adapt. Act.”
How about when your offline? Well participating at events plays vital role because the opportunity to network and to present your qualities and expertise to others in real life, is real. Because honestly, it’s hard to show your true potential to someone via Instagram or Twitter because of all the fake show-off self-centered attention-seeking individuals who’d post an intellectually sparking article or a fascinating status update about their new internship at Google – just to look smart. But having a face-to-face conversation with a client, mentor or potential employer might be all you need to tip the odds in your favor. Needless to say, even being a “main-event” speaker may also prove to be of high added value for you because no one forgets who took the stage, unless you’re as boring as Mr. Hutchinson, my previous history teacher.
3. Find Out How Far Your Reputation Stretces: All Eyes Are On You
Here is a fun fact for you to know: recruiters at your next job interview have the tendency of searching the name of candidates on a simple search engine – get it? So before Deloitte invites you over to an interview, they’ll Google your ass until there is nothing left of you. They´ll compile a file about what you do, how you do it, with who you do it with and of course, when you do it. For this very “casual” reason, it´s mind-blowingly important to monitor your “E-reputation,” that is to say all the information circulating and referring to you on the World Wide Web. The good news is that nothing gets erased from the web, so if there is a memorable picture you want to get your hands on, don’t worry, eventually you´ll find it.
It takes 40 years to establish a brand and only 40 seconds to destroy it. Brand management is essential when wanting to maintain a healthy and “non-scandalous” reputation – think I’m kidding? Just ask Britney Spear how hard her coke scandals hit her image. Now my point isn’t that coke is an unwise choice of vitamin C, it’s that when aiming to establish a good brand, when your image is out there, keeping it clean is your only job. That goes for your online social presence as well offline interactions. So next time you plan on Facebooking your “wild Saturday night”, don’t. And while you’re at it, do yourself a quick favor and Google your name – would be interesting to know what might pop up.
But hey, it’s all worth the hustle! Because once you establish that image of yours, you automatically become a reference that stands out immediately and, whoop di doo, great stuff start coming your way!
Picture Credit: WENN