From the shoes you wear to the cereal you eat, almost everything you enjoy as a consumer comes from a brand.
Brands are everywhere. Even now, you’re probably thinking of logos, slogans, and signature colors. And while imagery is an important aspect of brands, branding as a whole is actually a lot more complex.
Branding contains the identity of a company, organization, or individual and establishes a relationship with its target audience—their customers. Every marketing strategy and every ad you see is carefully built to reflect that company’s identity and brand.
Think about your favorite athletic wear (like Nike), your favorite phone or tech company (maybe Apple), or your favorite vitamin supplement company (perhaps it’s USANA Health Sciences). Each of these companies have become your favorite for a reason and evoke an image and feeling in your mind whenever you interact with them. This emotional connection—the relationship you have with them—is a result of the brand and their promises. Consistent quality and the experiences you have come to expect and enjoy are what keep you a part of their consumer base—they know this and capitalize on it.
These relationships and connections have a significant impact on the economy. According to Forbes, the top 10 brands in the world have a combined value of $1.1 trillion dollars. A successfully built brand can define a company’s success and will become the platform they use to operate and thrive.
As the digital world has become a focal point in society, and with the growth of social media platforms, brands have extended to more than just influencers, companies, and celebrities. Now, they include you.
What is Personal Branding?
A personal brand is similar to a company brand. It includes values, identity, story, and impacts people’s perception. Put simply, your personal brand is your reputation. It’s what others recall when they hear your name. Your brand is your story and shares your goals, skills, and expertise with those you interact with and what they will use to remember you after you leave the room.
Building your personal brand will help you stand out in both your personal and professional endeavors. It will be your greatest tool whether you’re advancing your career, building a business, or trying to join community organizations.
Define Who You Are
Step one in building your personal brand is to define who you are.
When was the last time you checked in on who you are or where you really want to go? Self-reflection is a great way to really get to know and solidify your goals, values, and what you bring to the table. You know yourself best, and there are a few important questions you should think about when building your brand:
- What makes you unique?
- What are your values?
- What motivates you?
- What skills do you have?
Reflect on these questions and write down your answers on a piece of paper, in your phone, or on your computer. Save your answers and continually revisit these questions. Your answers may change over time without you realizing it, so have occasional check-ins with yourself. These answers will be the core of your brand and will determine where you want to steer your future.
Find Your Focus
Just like corporate brands, you need to find what you want to be known for and push for it. Determine your key message or key focus for you and your products and services. This will help your messaging remain consistent, and keep you on track as you grow. And your focus will set you apart in the world. A company is more likely to remember and contact you if you have a specialty.
Once you have your focus, determine what you need for the industry or organization you want to break into or the business you want to create—inventory? Marketing? A website and great social media content? Break down what you need and create achievable milestones for yourself.
Boost Your Social Presence
The best way to introduce your brand and all the incredible things you have to offer is to work on your social presence. This includes networking and increasing your social media footprint.
If you’re starting a business, make business profiles on your favorite platforms, create a blog where you can create curated content for your customers to use with your products, and make a website where your customers can purchase your products, learn more about you, and can link to all your social media profiles and blog.
Or if you want to become a member of a local organization, try to attend events, chat with people who interact with the organization, and engage as much as possible.
The key is to get your name out there. Whatever you may be pursuing, it’s vital that you remain consistent with your messaging and your interactions.
Be Consistent and Authentic
Authenticity and consistency are a big part of maintaining a brand and relationships. People want to know they can trust you and what you offer, and if you aren’t consistent or authentic, it’s difficult to know what to expect and trust.
Once you make your great first impression, it will help you gain a following, land and keep a great job, or reach that goal you’ve been working toward. Your brand will naturally evolve over time. Just make sure to always put your best foot forward and stay in touch with your branding.