What three words would you use to describe yourself? What makes you stand out among your peers? What would your colleagues say is your greatest strength? In other words, what is your personal brand? A strong personal brand creates a distinct image in peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mind about you and helps you align with opportunities. Here are some tips on how to develop a personal brand.
Be prepared to be the real you. Personal branding is not about creating a false, artificial or deceitful impression. It is differentiating yourself from the Ã¢â‚¬ËœcompetitionÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ andÃ‚Â communicating your unique strengths in an ethical manner. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s about developing the Ã¢â‚¬ËœyouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ that you can be proud of, can sustain and grow.
Do some soul-searching. There must be essence and substance to your brand. What drives you? What kinds of activities give you meaning? What do you love to do? These questions should help you articulate what comes naturally to you, what you have mastered and help you influence how you are perceived.
Identify what you do best. Your brand has to shine a light on your Ã¢â‚¬ËœbestÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ self, so, think about what you are great at, how your passions meet with your skills and what abilities you have that consistently impress other people. Clarify what makes you different and where your true value lies. Look for opportunities to apply your unique skills, expertise or experience. Remember, a strong brand helps you compete effectively and to reach your highest potential.Ã‚Â
Consistently communicate your brand. For example, ask yourself what you do thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s truly remarkable, not just what your job description says. If you had the freedom to create your best job that speaks to your strengths, what Ã¢â‚¬ËœstarÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ competencies would you list? Be visible to your target audience through multiple opportunities; get involved in activitiesÃ‚Â in your area of expertise, work with people who can mentor and sharpen you and on projects that build your reputation.
Find ways to consistently use your brand. Show people how they can benefit from what you are good at. For example, if you are focussed, a good listener and good with people, volunteer to lead a team. Deploy your skills in areas that can raise your profile. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t fall into the trap of wanting to be all things to all people or engaging in blatant self-promotion.
Be comfortable with power: This is not power that is overbearing or position-based. When youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re operating like a brand, you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t work on the basis of the organisational chart or authority accorded you. When you live like a leader, you develop your personal and reputational power.
Develop a personal branding plan. You canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t just wing your way to a strong personal brand. Have a clearly thought-out plan that allows you to put yourself before the right people, seek out new opportunities that move you towards your professional goals and to a higher goals.
Now take action: What are you Ã¢â‚¬ËœexpertÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ at? How can you use this expertise more?