Why NOW is the Time to Build Your Personal Brand
Founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, describes personal brand as, “what people say about you when you leave the room.” This is probably the most widely used quote out there as it pertains to defining personal brand. However, I read an article recently that defined personal brand as more than what people say about you when you leave the room, but a story. I prefer this definition as personal branding is learning and mastering the art of storytelling.
THE ART OF STORYTELLING
We all have a personal brand whether or not you’ve thought about it. We all have a digital footprint. The question is whether or not you want to steer the ship or let others do it for you. A lot of people don’t think about their personal brand until it’s late in their career or just too late. I will argue that thinking of your personal brand early in your career is the best thing you can do for yourself. By waiting until it’s too late, you let someone else steer your story in whatever direction they wish.
I will be honest and say I never really thought about a personal brand before. I just assumed people will notice my work and see how hard working I am. It wasn’t until recently that I was made aware that I could control the narrative and ensure I remained consistent in all aspects of my life. At age 27, I am still working hard to build this however, I figured I’ll share with you things I wish I did when I had just started my career:
Step 1: Begin to see yourself as a brand.
I’m sure when you think of a brand, you think a business like coca-cola or apple. Yes, those are brands, but so are you. You are a walking and living brand. Just like people watch coca-cola and apple and are able to either resonate with the brand or not, the same applies to you as an individual. Once you see yourself as a brand, you will begin to take calculated steps in all that you do. You will begin to value your time and align yourself with people and things that will aid in advancing your career and/or personal goals.
Step 2: Set up a vision board.
Being able to visualize your vision and working towards implementing the vision will open professional opportunities. Think about what you want people to associate you with. For me, it's my passion for empowering women. I want to be part of the next generation shaping and defining the modern millennial woman narrative. I started taking the step to doing that by creating this beautiful brand that we now know as Twenty-Four Hour Woman.
Step 3: Leverage the power of social
I’ll be the first to tell you, I simply hate social media. I do not enjoy going on it and always do so out of necessity, not actually out of fun. With Twenty-Four Hour Woman, I had to create an Instagram account and craft the brand as it pertains to colors, pillars, voice, etc. I knew I had to accept this new life for myself because my target audience was on Instagram and Instagram really is a great tool to build your brand. What you want to ensure you do when leveraging social is make consistency your best friend. You want your social media accounts to reflect who you want people to perceive you as. LinkedIn is a very great channel to ensure you put your best foot forward. I make sure my LinkedIn account is always updated with all things related to me and my achievements and impact. Your other social accounts also matter. If you think people can’t find your personal twitter account, think again! Nothing is hidden in the big wide web.
Step 4: Brand colors
Honestly, I never thought much about this. This part also depends on the type of brand you're trying to build. However, if you're thinking of building your brand on social media (which I recommend you do), you might want to think of brand colors. These are the colors your target audience and other people will use to identify your brand. If you're a creative, this is especially important to your growth.
Step 5: Never stop learning
You have a niche or a sector you’re interested in? You have to constantly learn about that space. Go to meetups, networking events, conferences, and meet people! Get your name out there. Becoming a SME (Subject-Matter-Expert) is a good way to brand yourself out there. People will look to you for your expertise. They will pay you for this expertise. This is how you turn your passion, your brand, into paying clients! Pretty colors and a great Instagram aesthetic is not good enough. You need to stand out.
Step 6: Consistency is Key.
You can't build a brand without being consistent. It’s simply not possible. By not being consistent, you’re opening yourself up to someone else writing your story. You can’t have a professional LinkedIn account but your Twitter account shows another person entirely. Ensure everything you do is taking you closer to crafting your story.
Remember, it’s not so much what you do but how you do it. As I am today, I am still learning and figuring out what my personal brand is but I am working hard to craft that story.
Let’s discuss! I would love to hear from you about how you're building your personal brand.
Written by Victory Omotayo