Often when we think of marketing and branding we think of a company, a product or a service – but we rarely think of an individual person. And yet each of us does have our own brand, our own image, our own reputation in the market place we serve.
You have two options: You can allow the community to brand you or you can take ownership of the process and purposefully create your brand and shape your image in a way that is most effective for you, your organization and your future career journey.
Your personal brand is your unique promise, your good name, your reputation, your distinctive personality and the attitudes that define you. Having a brand of your own enables you to differentiate yourself, reinforces your reputation, creates a bond between you and the community and reflects well on your company.
But exactly how do you build a personal brand?
To have a sustainable and meaningful personal brand that represents you with your target audience, you should begin with a written plan. To start off the process, take the time to set professional goals for yourself. Then you can conduct your own situational analysis, taking stock of your greatest strengths and weaknesses as well as considering the opportunities and the threats that lay ahead for you. Next, define your market segment. That is, know who you want to influence and know where you can add the most value. Lastly, identify some key activities that will help you become well known and well regarded for your expertise. To become an established ‘subject matter expert’ means understanding the niche you are serving and branding yourself as the go-to person. You can accomplish this through speaking engagements, published articles, focused networking and developing strategic alliances in the sector. By aligning with other leaders who do not compete with you but who serve your same client base, your brand will continue to expand and grow just because of your connection to them and through their influence and status.
Building a personal brand is not much different from building a firm-wide brand. In both instances, you are enhancing your strong community standing and distinguishing yourself and your company through various specific and unique attributes that are not easily replicated by others in your field.