Developing a strong personal brand is key to differentiating yourself from your competition. We all need to manage our reputations – how we are perceived by others determines the value they assign us and the opportunities they afford us. Perception is reality in the minds of employers, clients and colleagues, and it is never too soon to ask yourself, “What do people look to me for?”
Authenticity is at the heart of true personal branding. To develop your own unique “stamp” in your field, you first must identify the genuine traits, skills and values that make you compelling. It starts with understanding what you stand for, what you represent, how you are known and the value others can expect from you. Only then can you begin to market yourself and your skills effectively to the audience who most needs you.
Here are some questions to help you get to the heart of Brand You:
VALUES: What is important to you? What do you stand for? What makes your heart race and your blood pump faster? What do you value in yourself and others?
LEGACY: How do you want to be known? What skills and values do you want people to think of when they think of you? How do you want people to introduce you, or refer to you?
SUCCESSES: When was the last time you felt engaged and excited about a successful project? What were you doing? What resources did you engage?
Now look at how you currently market yourself and your skills, and consider these questions:
STYLE: Is your tone, posturing and positioning consistent with your values? Does the external image of you, online and in person, match the inside you?
ACTIONS: Are you acting in accordance with your values? Do you practice what you preach? Do others come to you for the skills and values that you want to be known for?
It takes an honest and authentic look at where you are and where you want to be to build the reputation that you desire. Remember – a brand cannot make you something you are not. It will however unleash your power and passion to bring the positive opportunities you’re looking for.