You have a personal brand whether you realize it or not. We all do. Ok, so I am not saying that everyone has a logo and catch phrase like McDonald’s golden arches and “I’m Loving It” but you do have a personal brand. Your life is branded by the things you say, do, wear, share, and the things you don’t do. The image that people have of you is your brand. What is your current brand? What would you like it to be? Here are 5 ways to grow your personal brand:
- Be aware. What do you want to say to the world? Whether it is related to friends and family or a career- what image do you want to promote? Self-reflection is a valuable tool in creating, growing, and managing your brand image. You have to know YOU before you can promote YOU. Are you fun, business oriented, brassy, classy, or down-to-earth?
- Be real. You have many wonderful sides. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. You will get further in life if you are true to your values, goals, and honest about what makes you happy. No need to throw away all of your color crayons, just make sure you are coloring something that promotes who you really are. Quirks and differences don’t have to make you stand out for the wrong reasons. You can be unique and brilliant in many different ways.
- Be Mindful. In this world of social media and the internet your image can easily get distorted. Think before you post on Facebook, LinkedIn, or other social media venues. It would be great if we could have a personal life separate from our career life, but that is not the reality. Employers, co-workers, bosses, and friends all have pretty much the same access to your online life. Make sure they see you in the light you want to be seen. That next great job or promotion might depend on it.
- Be Consistent. Your LinkedIn profile is professional, you are careful what you post on Twitter, but that party last weekend was too much fun and all over your Facebook page. Sure, it is your page to do what you want with, but… Are the party photos taking away from the image you want to promote? Make sure all sources that point to you – point to a brand you are proud of.
- Be in charge. It is your brand after all. It will be there whether you manage it or not. Good or bad, we all have a brand image. Those who want to move forward in their life and career will guard their brand. Here are a few things you can do to protect your brand:
- Control your privacy settings
- Be conscious of what you wear and what you say
- Pay attention to who is listening or has access
- Monitor friends post or tagged items
The further you want to go in life, the more important your personal brand is. What people think, say, and believe about you comes from the input they get. Do they hear stories of how you helped someone or how you went the extra mile on a project? Do the words you use show you are a professional? Do your clothes and mannerisms say you can be trusted? It will be well worth the time and effort to grow your brand and show off the absolute best of YOU!