We are living in a world of competition. No matter what business you are doing or what professions you are in, you have to compete in order to become successful. To outsmart your competitor you have to be smart and do something different. That’s where the idea Self-Branding comes in.
In the past few years, Self-Branding creates a great hype among the professional and they take Individual Branding as a great factor for their career success. Many people think that Self-Branding is just for celebrities but it’s not. Because every one of us is a brand only if we are willing to promote ourselves.
Here, in this article, I will share every small detail about Self-Branding, its definition, history, career & professional importance and how to promote your skills to become a brand. So let’s start the journey and I will meet you when you have finished reading the article.
What are Brand and Branding?
Before digging into Self-Branding, let’s have some idea about brand and branding. According to Wikipedia “A brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or other feature that distinguishes an organization or product from its rivals in the eyes of the customer. Brands are used in business, marketing, and advertising.” On the other hand “Branding is a set of marketing and communication methods that help to distinguish a company or products from competitors, aiming to create a lasting impression in the minds of customers.”(Source: Wikipedia)
An effective brand policy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. It also identifies which delivery channels will be most effective in building awareness, whether advertising, social media, public relations or a combination. Besides Branding will create hype among the customers about your product or service.
Definition of Self-Branding
Self-Branding also known as personal branding refers to a marketing method where people promote themselves and their careers as brands. This branding form helps an individual to create a unique public image that demonstrates his/her unique skills, strength, talent and overall reputation. To sum up, personal branding is an extension of yourself and your service to the people and collect feedback from them. It’s the best way to boost your career and become successful.
There was a time when individual branding was nothing but a simple business card with your name on it. But time has changed. With the development of social media and an ever more individualized society, perhaps it has now become the single most important way to stand out yourself from your competition and create more opportunities.
History of Individual Branding
Self-Branding has a rich history. In 1997 Tom Peters wrote an article entitled “The Brand Called You” where he used the term. But that was not the first time the term was used. Self-Branding, personal branding, individual branding by whatever name, was first introduced in 1937 in the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. Later in 1981, the term was used again in the book “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind” by Al Ries and Jack Trout.
After the invention of the internet and social media individual branding has reached a new level of authoritativeness. The growth of the virtual world created the necessity of managing online identities. Because Employers now days are increasingly using social media to assess applicants before offering them interviews. So if you are branding yourself then you have better odds of being noticed by potential employers.
Importance of Personal Branding
We are living in a world where, how we are presenting ourselves to others matters. And either you are realizing or not, it is developing a personal brand that defines you and your expertise. So you can either take charge in making your own brand or let other to construct your brand by their impressions or misconceptions of who you are.
If you have negative things online, then people might have a misleading view of who you are. On the other hand, if you have well organized social media accounts and professional networking pages then people’s point of view towards you will change and they will think you as an expert in your own field. Here are some reasons why creating your own image and Self-Branding is very important.
- Self-Branding is very important when it comes to highlighting yourself from your competitor. Whether it is your professional career or business, if you have a strong reputation both in real and virtual (online) world then it will set the tone for your whole company and help it stand apart from the rest.
- If you are a freelancer or self-employed then personal branding is must for you. It will be a great addition to your skill. For example, if you are working as a freelancer in a marketplace and people have a good impression about your service and quality then they will find you and definitely will buy service from you.
- Want to be an expert in your field then build a good reputation around your skill. We all know those who are identified as experts have a great demand. They are more recognizable and doors of opportunities open more easily for them. So try to be an expert in your field and Self-Branding is here to help you.
- Your personal brand should be a selling point to new clients, potential employers, and even future employees. Because if you have built a reputation as someone that people would want to do business with or work with then it will attract new customer, employers, and employees.
- There’s no greater tool in a merchant’s resource than trust, especially if you are running an online business and earning money through internet. But the question is how an entrepreneur can build trust. The answer is Self-Branding. This method might not provide an immediate marketing return, but it will help you build trust for your client.
- There is a clear correlation between success and personal branding. Creating a strong brand around your skill will establish you as an expert and a natural leader. It will boost your image and creates unique opportunities that would otherwise remain in the dark. Leadership qualities naturally evolve as success and Self-Branding works as a connection between them.
- Personal Branding plays a vital role while you are searching for jobs. Showcasing your personal brand attributes in your resume will create hype among the reader and can pre-qualify you as a viable candidate who will add value and fit their corporate culture.
How to Identify Your Personal Brand
Now that you know the importance of Self-Branding you might want to create a brand. But before branding yourself first you have to identify your personal brand. Your personal brand is a vivid indication of the best you have to offer – the performance, contributions, and value your next employer can expect from you. Professional success largely depends on selecting the right brand for you. Here are some facts that you should look for before selecting your brand:
- Find out your passion
- Identify Your Strengths, weakness and Uniqueness
- Pinpoint your personal and professional goals
- Distinguish Your Ideal Personalities
- Distil it down to a brand statement
Process of Self-Branding
Now that you have identified your skill it’s time to build a reputation around your brand. You can use the Personal Branding Toolkit (A list of marketing material for brand development) to highlight your brand and allow people to easily view what you’re about. Here are some methods you can apply for Self-Branding:
- Business Card
- Resume/Cover Letter
- Video Resume
- Personal Website
- LinkedIn Profile
- Facebook Profile
- Twitter Profile
- Quora Profile
- Instagram Profile
- Email Address
One of the ancient but very effective ways of branding yourself is to use Business Card. No matter what your profession is you must have a Business Card. And the card should contain your picture, your personal brand statement, your contact information and corporate logo.
These are very important documents if you are seeking jobs. Make sure your Resume contains all the information about your skills. In addition, add social features to it and make it online by promoting your brand.
This is a modern way of promoting your brand. You can make a short video of you talking about your skills, your brand etc. It will let the employer see your communication skills, personality and charisma. More, ver you can upload your video resume to YouTube so that others can view.
A portfolio is a great way to showcase the work you’ve done in the past. It highlights samples of some of your best work that reflect your accomplishments, skills, experiences, and attributes. It makes people convince that you are an expert in your field.
If you own yourname.com or a website then it will be a great boost for your Self-Branding process. You can start blogging or have a static page containing your personal brand message. Now optimize your site for your name so that people can find you in SERPs if they search for your name.
Linkedin profile is a great way to express yourself among the professional. Because this profile is a combination of a resume, cover letter, references document and a database of your previous and present working network. You can use this media to create your own personal brand, to search for jobs or meet new people.
Facebook has brought a revolutionary change both in our personal and professional life. More than one billion people have an active Facebook profile but only a minor number of people use it as a medium for Self-Branding. So you can use Facebook profile for your personal branding purpose. But before that make sure to include a Facebook profile picture of you and input your work experience and fill out your profile with correct information. (N.B: If you want to keep your Facebook profile private then you can use Facebook Page for Personal Branding.)
A well-organized Twitter profile can be used as a link between your blog and other social media profiles. Try to use the same picture that you used in Facebook or Linkedin for your avatar. Don’t forget to use a distinct picture for the background. Now fill out your profile and include a link to your blog and other social media profile.
Quora is a great platform for people who like to help each other. Here people ask a question about different topics or problems and get answered by other Quora Users. Select your niche and try to answer questions related to your niche. This will create a good impression about your skill and people will consider you as an expert on your professional field.
Surprised! Yeah, I know that Instagram is a photo sharing platform. But who said that we can’t use Instagram for Self-Branding. If we use this platform properly, then it can become a great weapon for our personal branding process. So my advice to you is, personalize your profile according to your skill or brand and increase your followers. Share your logo or your photo on the profile and post photos that illustrate your skill, brand or products.
This is the most underrated Personal Branding Toolkit that I believe can play a significant role in the Self-Branding process. Nowadays we use Email for personal and professional communication. So it opens a great opportunity for your brand. Make sure that your name or brand name appears in your Email address. For example: “firstname.lastname@example.org.” or “email@example.com”
8 Key Elements of Self-Branding
Building brand around your name or business is not a simple task. It needs a lot of hard work and dedication. Moreover, you must possess these key elements in you if you want to brand yourself. They are:
Authenticity: It is compulsory for personal branding. Because being authentic means remaining true to whom you are and what you do. It is a combination of both your words and actions. So if you ever hope to boost your brand or business then Authenticity is a must.
Transparency: There is an English maxim “All mouth and no trousers” that basically refers to someone who tends to talk arrogantly but cannot back themselves upon their words. If you are in this category then it will be very hard for you to form a brand. So it is better, to be frank, and honest, then lie and provide evidence of your work wherever you can.
Consistency: People trust brands for their consistency because Inconsistency creates confusion among the consumers. So if you are branding yourself or business then you need to be consistent in your personality, skill, quality, style and identity. It will help you to make your brand strong, confident and trustworthy.
Your Story: Your story can be a powerful Self-Branding element because it is a perfect reflection of you and your activities. Moreover, people love stories and it has a great impact in traditional marketing. Because it makes the customer emotional and vulnerable to your brand.
Develop Expertise: Promoting your brand will create attention among the people about your brand but it’s your expertise that will make them track you and remain engaged. So it is clear that if you want to keep your brand uphold forever then you better develop your skills.
Visibility: If you are branding yourself or business but people don’t find your brand then what’s the point of branding. So make sure that your brand is visible to your audience. You can increase the visibility of your brand by promoting yourself or business through content marketing, social engagement, interviews etc.
Identify Value Proposition: Value proposition is a very important component of a Self-Branding process because it tells the customer why they should buy from you and not from others. So identify your value proposition and remember that your consistency, originality and product quality are related to your value proposition.
Connections: Connections are very important for individual branding. Because Connections not only introduce you to others and expand your network but also help you to collect a list of testimonials that showcase your skills and brand. Good reviews and testimonials increase your brands trust signals as well as reputation.
Hey there, we meet again. I see you have read the article. So what do you think of Self-Branding? Isn’t it amazing? Yes, it is. Because Personal Branding brings a whole new dimension in our career and it creates a lot of opportunities for us. Moreover, with the help of Self-Branding, the word will know who you are, what you are good at and why people can rely on your service.
Feel free to share your opinion regarding this article. If I missed out any topics or techniques or you have any questions then please mention it in comments. I’ll be happy to take a look!