How to build your personal brand and get to where you want to be
If the word brand and the title of this article instantly turns you off lets firstly let’s talk about why you would continue to read this article.
Everyone has a brand. It doesn’t matter if you are a business person or not, you do have a brand of some kind and it can either work for you or against you. You have complete control.
But why does it matter? Well in short, having an appropriate personal brand will literally allow you to get to where you want to be whether it’s getting that next promotion, getting the discount on that new car, hiring the best people or meeting the right partner.
Here’s 8 reasons why you need to care about this:
- More opportunities for you in your business or career.
- Better, more fruitful partnerships.
- Greater credibility.
- Greater exposure and presence.
- More clients.
- A higher perceived value.
- More ownership of your space or niche.
- Greater income.
How many of these would you like to have more of? If it’s one or more you need to pay attention and keep reading.
What is a personal brand?
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos puts it so succinctly: “your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
Let’s think about that for a second. Do you think people talk about you in the way you want them to when you’re not there? If not why not?
Very quickly you can see that the presence you have, the image you portray, your behaviour historically will all influence what people think about you and therefore what they say about you. Whilst you can’t change your history you can certainly influence tomorrow’s history by the actions you take today and everyday forward.
So how to you approach this process? Here’s my 5 steps to taking your career to the next level through personal branding!
Step 1: Who are you?
Your first job is to actually understand more about yourself.
What do you stand for and what are your core values?
Maybe you are all about driving for excellence with integrity. Perhaps you’re all about doing it differently with speed and purpose.
You need to really think about what it is you stand for and what you want to drive for.
Step 2: What is your desired brand ?
What do you want people to think about you in a work, business, relationship realm?
Think about the role you want in life, what does that person have that you currently don’t possess? Or more importantly you might possess it but you are choosing not to show that to the world.
Step 3: What do other people think of you?
Have a look at something called the 360 assessment. You can google it and get one for free or very low cost online. Invite people in your network to take the assessment which literally gives you anonymous feedback from the people you invite. I would suggest asking your friends, family, work colleagues, clients and anyone else you can think of to give you direct feedback on this. Even if you ask them to come up with 3-5 words that describe you on an email that’s a start.
The results of step 3 is what’s called your default brand. This is what people currently think based on the behaviour you exhibit and the experience people have with you. Don’t be surprised if you get some left field results here.
If you’re default brand and your desired brand match up then you’re all set. My guess would be there are two or three elements you may want to work on.
If you’re struggling with this then ask yourself the question ‘do I have everything I want right now in my business, career, relationships etc? If the answer is no then that would imply there are some areas you can work on in your personal brand for each area.
Step 4: Who do you need to become?
Quite possibly you might now be in a position where there is a gap between your default brand and your desired brand. Your job is to close that gap.
Famous author Kurt Vonnegut’s quote is huge here…”We are who we pretend to be”…
Ultimately we need to become the person who get’s the top jobs, gets the business investment, gets the relationships they want.
I remember when I was a young S&C coach and was meeting with a more experience coach. I thought I knew it all and at the time I had a good job and was satisfied. During that meeting the more experienced coach picked me up on how my tracksuit consisted of nike bottoms, Adidas top and asics trainers. He also picked me up on my notepad which had some dog-eared edges and didn’t look tidy.
I did not appreciate the feedback but I was too arrogant at the time to take it on board. Looking back he was essentially saying that my default brand did not match my desired brand. If I didn’t change it I wouldn’t progress to where I wanted to be. Very valid points and I’m glad that I raised my standards albeit not directly from this meeting. Sometimes it takes someone else to point this out.
In your case what do you need to look like, how do you need to behave, who do you need to know, how do you need to communicate in order to close that gap?
Step 5: Your media activity
In this social media era you and everyone else is their own media publishing company. Everything you say online is trackable and makes an impact. That’s why high profile people have teams of staff that manage their online presence and trigger lawsuits regularly when something is said that doesn’t match their personal brand.
If you’ve got pictures of last Saturday night when you’re dancing on the tables how on earth would you expect to be taken seriously by your clients or get that job you’re applying for? Would you commission that piece of content if you were looking down on yourself from above? More than likely not.
Of course there is a balance but consider why your life needs to be documented online. It probably is not serving you well.
Step 6: It starts today.
Go through the steps. Identify the gap. Decide who you need to become.
Then start. Today.
If you put time into this now it will pay dividends down the line I assure you.
What do you think of this article? Drop me a comment on instagram @Brendanchaplin.
As always thank you for reading this and keep up the great work,
My best as always,