You are in control of your personal brand if you choose to be. When establishing your brand, it is essential that you define yourself. Remember that perception is reality, so it is essential that you carefully cultivate your image. When you take the time to define yourself and present this definition to the public, your will reap the benefits that come with taking control of your personal branding.
If You Don’t, They Will
It is easy to underestimate the importance of personal branding and avoid actively participating in your brand. The truth, however, is that branding occurs whether you participate in it or not. If you do not take the time to brand yourself, the market will brand you, and it may not do it favorably. Customers can bring negative attention to a company or individual, and attention can easily escalate to the court of public opinion. For example, the video “United Breaks Guitars” brought negative attention to the United Airlines brand. Without personal branding and active intervention, the damage to the brand name could have been beyond repair. Taking control of personal branding is necessary to manage your public reputation.
Brand mantras are short, but they are powerful. This short phrase or statement may only be three to five words, but these words define your brand. A mantra must explore the brand’s points of difference or how the brand is unique along with what the company represents. For example take a look at, Nike’s “Authentic Athletic Performance.” In order to create a brand mantra, you must first identify what sets your brand apart and list your points of difference.
Once the points of difference are identified, you must create a mantra that is simple, communicates, and inspires.
- Simple: The mantra should be short and to the point.
- Communicate: The mantra should define the purpose of the brand and what is unique about it.
- Inspire: The mantra should be significant.
When creating a mantra, you should begin with a word bank of points of difference and your purpose and mission.
People are attracted to genuine people. The key to personal branding is to make it personal. Communicating dry facts will not impress most people. Your brand must have personality. Develop a persona that attracts people. Share ideas, implement humor, and make connections with people. Having an online presence makes sharing your persona much easier.
When you are developing your persona, remember to be real. You are under no obligation to share personal details about yourself, but everything that you do share must be genuine. Never make up facts, statistics, or tell lies. Fact checking has become easier than ever, and lies will do nothing to improve your brand’s reputation.
In defining yourself, it is helpful to perform a SWOT analysis. By identifying your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, you will be able to define your brand and understand what you have to offer. You will also identify areas that need improvement.
- Strengths: Strengths are internal characteristics that create a competitive advantage. For example, accounting skills would be a strength.
- Weaknesses: Internal weaknesses that need to be improved. Disorganization would be an example of a weakness.
- Opportunities: Opportunities are external. There are always opportunities for you to take advantage in the marketplace. Education would be an example of an opportunity.
- Threats: External threats cannot be controlled, but they may be addressed in your opportunities. Competition with a more relevant skill set is a threat.
A SWOT analysis will be unique to each person or business. Taking a moment to honestly assess your situation will allow you to complete a personal SWOT analysis.
This post is from February’s topic on Personal Branding.