The brand of YOU!
The brand of YOU!
There are many books published on the subject of personal branding. These range from “You are a Brand” by Catherine Kaputa to “Can I wear my nose ring to the Interview?” by Ellen Gordon Reeves. What all these books have in common is the importance of creating an image for yourself from who you are, rather than from what you do.
We went on a journey to discover the key insights on this topic so that we can share them with you. So here is a synopsis of what we found:
“7 Things That Define You and Your Personal Brand” by Nicolas Cole
First, your voice! Each of us has a voice to express ourselves. Writers have a voice on paper, musicians within their instruments, models in their eyes and keynote speakers in their speech. Personal branding is not as much about a good or great voice but rather about having YOUR OWN voice.
Then, your style. Cole describes your style as the wardrobe for your voice. Its not only an expression of you but it also aligns with the type of audience you need to attract. Most of all your style must fit you comfortably.
Third on the list is your mannerisms. These are things that say more about you than things said outright. Your handshake, whether you make eye contact, holding doors open, using foul language and checking your phone every five minutes. These are all aspects that contribute towards “the portrait of who you are.”
Moving swiftly along, point four is your network. Cole states “You are the product of the 5 people you spend the most time with in your life”. Just like when you are dating, you learn a lot about the other person just from the type of friends they hang out with, the same applies to your personal brand. Who you associate with says more about you than you realise.
Five, your habits. Success is not built on one event only. It’s a long process and requires continuous focus. What is it you do every day? What is your routine? What motivates you? How do you approach your work? Cole says, “Our habits are what build us as people — and they are also what build a meaningful Personal Brand.”
Next, your word. Since your personal brand is based on you as a person, whatever you say, you will be held accountable to and for. It’s no good just saying it, you must follow through. Promises must be kept and honesty, integrity and loyalty with your audience maintained.
As a seventh and final point, Cole lists consistency as the thing that speaks volumes for your personal brand. Cole explains that consistency “rewards both you, the creator, and your audience.” He also stresses that “consistency is what teaches you who you are, is how you discover your voice, your style, your mannerisms, your habits and is how you refine yourself.”
“5 Steps to Empowering the Brand You” by Megan M. Biro
Biro declares that “you” branding is real and imperative and is a road that leads to our best career and leadership selves. Her article is based on five essential steps that include:
Listening to Shakespeare – “This above all: to thine own self be true.” In other words, your brand must start with you.
Taking a personal inventory – an objective look at your strengths, your weaknesses and your personality.
Being honest – Extroverts must be extroverted, and Introverts must be introverted, because it’s OK to be who you were naturally born to be. Don’t force yourself to be someone you’re not.
Don’t over (or under) sell yourself – Biro refers to the “Donald Trump Syndrome”, where it seems the most aggressive (even arrogant) people get noticed, hired and rewarded and points out that for every Donald, there are a dozen people who oversold themselves, weren’t able to deliver, and stalled their careers. The moral is “shoot for the stars on every project, but let your results speak for themselves.”
Bring your best self – Work can bring fulfilment and challenge to our lives. It can be filled with excitement, and financial and social rewards. It can give real meaning to our lives. To this point, Biro concludes that “Brand You is about making that happen for you. It’s about understanding yourself – your best self!”
Here are some further “Tips on Creating and Growing Your Personal Brand” that we borrowed from Laura Lake. She explains why EVERYONE should cultivate their own brand. She reckons, “Personal branding is the process of developing a “mark” that is created around your name or your career” and that you use this “mark” to express and communicate your skills, personality, and values.
Besides rehashing what’s already been covered in the two articles above, Lake adds some more insights about perfecting your uniqueness and strengths and sharing your knowledge. According to Lake, “It’s not enough to learn it; you have to teach it and share your knowledge by helping others. Do this through videos, social media, and writing both online and offline. This is where you prove you know your stuff and gain exposure from doing so.”
All in all, everyone agrees that building a personal brand takes time and effort. Best you get started then…
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