Does Your Personal Brand Reflect YOU?

What does your personal brand represent? When coworkers, potential clients, or customers see your name, what do they think of? Hopefully you’ve identified the brand you want to project by now—if you haven’t, browse through my blog entries and articles to get a crash course. Today, I want to give you tips for ensuring that your brand is unique—in other words, that your personal branding helps differentiate you amongst your peers and competitors:

1) Take a survey. Step one is identifying the current state of your brand. Find five coworkers or friends and ask them to write down the top three words that come to mind when they think of you. Once they’ve finished, look over the results. The words they have chosen should give you a pretty good idea of how people perceive you. What do the results say? Are the traits they’ve identified generic and boring, or are they unique and interesting? Now that you have an idea of what your brand stands for, you can begin working to strengthen it.

2) Identify traits that make you unique—but also valuable. For many people, the hardest part of building their personal brand is determining what that brand should consist of. It’s important that it be unique and somewhat memorable, but it’s also important that your brand sends the right message. The challenge is identifying memorable characteristics that also add value to your brand. This might seem challenging, but it’s not. Why should potential customers choose to do business with you? What do you have that very few others can match? Answer these questions and you’ve identified the core of your personal brand.

3) Use your personality. Your brand can be more than your work experience or your education. Your sense of humor, your ability to focus, or your superior communication skills can be a valuable component of your personal brand. This requires an effort on your part, however— it doesn’t happen automatically. Whether that means inserting some humor into blog entries or making a point to seek out public speaking opportunities, emphasizing the skills that set you apart from the competition will make your brand stand out. What makes you unique?

Your personal brand is what you make it. If you’re content with being just another generic consultant, or lawyer, or whatever you do, so be it. But if you want to build a brand that truly allows you to stand out from the crowd, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Start by identifying the current state of your personal brand. Then identify traits or attributes that set you apart from the competition while also adding value to your brand. Once you’ve done this, it’s simply a matter of repetition and exposure. Take every opportunity to build your brand—including your business card, your social media presence, your blog, and the rest of your public persona. If you’re willing to put in the work, you will reap the benefits!