It’s easy to only think of branding in the sense of big businesses and multi-million dollar companies. But the truth is, brands are so much more than that.
Barry Feldman said it best in a blog post where he offered up some personal branding tips too:
You, my friend, are a brand.
I’m a brand. You’re a brand. The Orange Walls are a brand. They’re also a popular roots-rock/jam band in Atlanta who put on killer live shows (and no, we aren’t being paid to blog that)…
Back to the topic here.
What Is Personal Branding?
Personal branding is all about telling your story, in your voice, in your own unique way. It’s about managing and optimizing the way you present yourself. So, in order to make your personal brand successful, you have to craft and define your own identity.
This is because even though businesses and companies are often built around ideas, they’re ultimately represented by the people who work for them.
Crafting and defining your own identity isn’t a cakewalk. But once you hit your stride and figure out what makes you stand out, it will open the doors to countless opportunities.
How Do You Define Your Personal Brand?
Defining your personal brand is an opportunity to learn more about yourself. It’s a chance to take a look in the mirror and identify your unique skills, strengths, and talents. Easier said than done though, right?
Agreed. But as one swell guy we know by the name of President Theodore Roosevelt once put it, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty…”
So what can you do to start defining your personal brand and make it a little easier on yourself? Answer the following question:
What are you passionate about?
Don’t rush it. Take your time and really think about what you enjoy doing most in this world. People with strong personal brands are clear about who they are and what they’re good at.
They take advantage of their strengths and utilize them every day. If you’re having trouble making a list don’t be shy about asking a friend or coworker what they think you’re good at or what they admire most about you. If you’re really stumped just ask your mom. Mom’s can always find something to praise you for.
For example, you wouldn’t be reading this blog post right now if our mom’s never encouraged us to pursue what we’re good at (shoutout to Michele and Patsy!).
Improve Your Brand, Acknowledge Your Weaknesses
Okay, you know what you’re good at but what do you suck at doing? Be honest with yourself here.
Even Superman had his Kryptonite. Once you’ve established what you’re passionate about and what you’re good at, you have to take inventory of the things you’re not so good at.
Nobody can be good at everything. Not even us. However, we realize that and have a gameplan in place to make sure we don’t let those weaknesses hold us back.
Want to know what the secret is? It’s not some fancy list of personal branding tips or a magic recipe that will give you overnight success; sorry. Here’s the secret. We:
- Reduce the impact of our weaknesses by choosing projects that play to our strengths
- Acknowledge those weaknesses as weaknesses and something we can improve on
- Seize opportunities to build new skills that will serve us well and turn our weaknesses into strengths
And you can too! But you don’t have to do it alone. If you need help, don’t be shy about asking for it. That’s kind of why we’re here.
Use Your Personal Brand to Make an Impact
Of course, in order to use your personal brand to make an impact you also need to:
- Tap into your values and find out what directs the choices you make. For example, what’s more important to you: Wealth or charity? Control or teamwork? Flexibility or punctuality?
- Explore your purpose and have a clear vision of the things you would like to achieve.
- Build your brand around your passion, strengths, values, and vision.
Clarifying your passions, strengths, values, and vision is what will make your personal brand successful. But how can you use your personal brand to make an impact?
You market yourself. You create an amazing career that reflects who you are and who you strive to be day in and day out. You can even use a personal branding agency to help you get started.
It’s up to you how you go about establishing your personal brand. Afterall, it’s your brand and you’re the one who’s ultimately responsible for what you do with it.
Are there any killer examples of personal brands out there you really admire? Let us know about them in the comments! We’re always up for good discussion.