I admit, starting your Personal PR or Personal Brand campaign might not feel comfortable at first.
Human beings are biologically hardwired to play it safe, protect themselves, and ‘stay low’. For millions of years, our predecessors strived to keep their visibility down and not expose themselves to the outer world.
Some thousands of years later – the rules of the game have changed: we learn to reveal our personalities, uncover our private lives, seek to become more visible, and build our own brand. And that might not always seem like a natural step forward.
PERSONAL BRANDING: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
Your career adviser insists that you frequently update your professional profile on Linkedin. The social or business communities invite you to join their groups on Facebook or Instagram. Your corporate communications team encourages you to follow the company’s account on Twitter. Late at night, you listen to your friend’s talk on Club House. Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat aside, your kids are mastering TikTok (thanks, Covid!) and growing fast their own YouTube channels. And then comes your ‘friendly neighbor’ with subtle advice “not to put yourself out there and remove your photos from your social media channels…”
So, where are you in this noisy online world? And WHO ARE YOU?
Are you a #front-runner? A #follower? A #dreamer, an #innovator? A #proud-student or a #proud-parent? A #leader? A #unique-you?
You probably know who you are and what your values, strengths, and distinctive traits are.
How about your friends, neighbors, colleagues, bosses, community? Do they know that too? Or you think they know?
Don’t expect people to always know what you stand for or notice your skills and accomplishments. You need to show and tell it. Or using modern terms, you need to ‘build your personal brand’.
Your Personal Brand is your Reputation.
What if you think of your personal brand as your reputation? Or put it simply - the measure or control (by others) of anything and everything that you do.
And then, all of a sudden – your reputation matters, whether you are an individual, an entrepreneur, a local company, or a giant like Google.
And then building your reputation (or your personal brand) becomes your job. Then it’s up to you to choose whether and how to create your profile on social media, whether to follow someone’s account, become a member of the (networking, online) community, share your photos and decide what you stand for and what you represent.
If you don't do that – other people will do it for you.
There you go: now you have a choice. (You always do.)
A: You give your audience an opportunity to decide what you are known for, what are your values, traits, and top skills.
B: You ‘control your narrative’ and paint your brand or reputation with the colors of your choice, with the crisp story of your personality, with the tantalizing promise that is unique to you and your traits. Because you are Unique.
Choose “A” - and let the world decide for you.
Choose “B” - and be the #Unique-You.
Build your PERSONAL BRAND, SHAPE YOUR reputation. Become a brand.
If you are still not convinced, think of this as ‘doing a service to others' - by telling them about yourself and what you are great at.
Building your personal brand takes a little effort, time, and persistence. But other than that – you can be any brand; you don’t need to be famous or beat world records to have credibility and authority. You need to be YOU.
PERSONAL BRANDING: 4 essential steps to get you started
Like anything in life, start building the foundation of your brand before you build a house.
1. Define #Unique-You
Your foundation in personal branding is built on a combination of your top skills, traits, attributes, experience, background, and values. Your foundation for a positive reputation is sustained through transparency, credibility, honesty, and consistency.
In the world of 7 Bil people, there is always going to be someone else with your skills, experience alike, similar services or products. And that’s OK. There is space for everyone☺ The only cavity – make it distinctive and keep evolving.
So, find out what is the purpose of building your brand: to build a business (brand) around your name or just enhance and strengthen your reputation among your peers and various stakeholders?
Then go through a ‘distilling’ process of your skills and attributes and extract what makes you different and unique among other 7 Bil people, stay consistent, transparent and show your credibility.
2. Define the value you bring to others
Ask yourself how your skills, knowledge, and experience can help others or what impact can you have on them? Do you want to create meaningful value by sharing your knowledge, teaching, coaching, or selling your own products; or impact others through your work for multinationals or Small and Medium companies?
3. #Unique-You Positioning and Story
Summarize in 1-3 sentences what you do, your audience or industry, your passion, and why you are unique. It should become your ‘unique value proposition’ where people easily understand who you are and what you offer. Make it specific, memorable, and attention-grabbing. There are various templates to use or different examples to get inspired from.
Keep building your #Unique story. Your story is what sets you apart from others, and helps to establish trust with others more quickly. Your story will help demonstrate who you are and you can use it on your website, social media profiles, in your professional biography.
4. #Get your network in motion
Review the status of your current and potential Social Media channels. Using your positioning, story, and everything that you have identified - update or create your profiles on current or new online channels. Join various professional networks (of your interest), connect with industry leaders. Identify a list of topics to share, and talk about it publicly.
There is so much more to be done in the process. But completing the first steps can already take you a long way. As long as you stay consistent, authentic, and focused.
Important disclaimer: sharing your gifts, greatness, uniqueness also means that some people will feel drawn to you, and others will not.
There always will be those who don’t like you and disagree with your beliefs. And they will have enough platforms to say so.
There is always going to be an element of social, moral, and competence judgment.
Just accept it and let it be.
Whether you are an ‘established’ brand or rising influencer, you don’t control what people think or write.
But you get to control and decide how you want to position yourself, be seen, and perceived.
So, it is up to you to create a whole experience of someone having a relationship with you, as a leader and an individual – for who you are and what you represent. It is up to you to decide what your Personal Branding is all about.
Dare to dream big and be the #Unique – You. Learn, improve, get stronger, get better at failures, and celebrate your successes.