Staying true to yourself
How to maintain personality in your personal brand
No matter what industry or profession you’re in, there will come a time when simply doing the work won’t cut it. If you’re truly in search of professional growth, you have to put yourself in a position where others can see you and hear what you have to offer in the way you want them to. Now more than ever, we have the opportunity to become visible to a large audience by way of the internet and connections we make therein, and it would be unfortunate to miss the opportunity for lack of branding expertise. But it’s easy to get swept up in social media to wear masks or to put on airs in an effort to get the attention of peers or thought leaders in your field. Unfortunately, pretending to be something you’re not will not only hurt your credibility in the long run, but you won’t attain from the result you desire. Instead you can end up being perceived as less authentic, which creates an environment where people won’t relate to you.
There are a few easy things you can start doing immediately to make sure your personal brand is really telling a true and effective story to your audience.
Make a list of mantras that are you uniquely yours. Start by taking stock of who you are and what you’re most grateful for. To better understand what makes you stand out, take a moment to think about the encouragement you give yourself to get through tough situations, or the words of wisdom you always keep in the back of your mind. For example Bruce Lee said “It’s not the daily increase, but the daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.” This quote reminds me to focus on what matters and not waste precious time on what doesn’t. What words of wisdom do you keep?
Pick out your most valuable trait. Determining what sets you apart can be as simple as defining your strengths. Talk to friends and family to get their input, and look for common themes. Think about the most positive and constructive feedback you’ve received. What’s the one strength or story that has helped you get to where you are today? This will be the defining characteristic of your brand, and it will create a personal purpose.
Picture your audience. When you begin to build your personal brand, you need to carefully define your audience in order for it to have the desired effect, not just accumulate followers for numbers sake, but to create meaningful relationships. Who are the people you really want to influence? Who are the individuals who usually come to you for guidance? Picture the people you admire and the people who are most likely to identify with your messages, and put yourself in their shoes. How would they relate to you? How can you help them in their lives?
Find platforms to be heard. Once you’ve clearly defined your values, defining characteristics, and audience, you can begin to project your most authentic brand to the world. Pick your platforms wisely, and consider learning new skills if you’re less savvy in a given area than you’d like to be. Are you a good photographer, a blogger, artist, videographer, or speaker? Start with your top skill to leverage on social media platforms, and learn what these communities are concerned about and how you can help. Engage in conversation. Use words, colors, and images that represent you in your most authentic way that will resonate with the wider community.
Rebranding isn’t just about settling on a persona, or “reinventing” yourself, but rather discovering who you already are, and figuring out how to present that to the world in a way that will resonate. If you don’t define that for yourself, other people will do it for you. There’s always something unique you can bring to the table that can benefit those around you. It’s finding that “something” in your branding efforts that will keep you learning and improving along the way.
How do you define your personal brand?