Have you ever seen anyone walk into a room and totally command it? A powerhouse. A force to be reckoned with.
Branding has been in the consideration set and mission critical strategy amongst leaders for decades. And it now extends beyond what advertising agencies have professed and pitched for years. There’s the belief that we can be like Don Draper from Mad Men—the connoisseur of branding.
Branding becomes the expression of one’s talent, but it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s like peeling an onion, there are layers and layers that need to be revealed.
Establishing a personal brand is just as important as building your corporate brand. And just like corporate branding, your brand must position you as a thought-leader, be communicated often, and consistently. The ultimate goal is to become your own celebrity CEO.
Tom Peters from Fast Company said,
“All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”
The ultimate benefit of personal branding is that you will enfranchise your employees and teams in unpresented ways. The staff will follow you, at all costs, and they will work harder for you to meet your vision for the future.
“Branding demands commitment; commitment to continual re-invention; striking chords with people to stir their emotions; and commitment to imagination. It is easy to be cynical about such things, much harder to be successful.” – Sir Richard Branson
With social media continuing to explode, personal branding has become the mod (and necessary) thing to do and has created a new phenomenon. It’s become something that we can’t ignore.
Using social media provides the opportunity to represent you—driving the context and content of your message. And there is a huge sense of pride and control that goes along with building your presence. In fact, unlike trying to convince a board of directors about where the brand should go, this is the one thing where you’re the chief, answering to no one but yourself. You’re the champion and your digital appearance falls on you.
“Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”– Jeff Bezos
Here’s a few tips to get you started:
Use Your Bio to Communicate Your Unique Value Proposition. Ensure that your profile and message is uniform and clear across all of your platforms. Your words and style are part of what makes you attractive and gives you the spring board to be followed. Select certain words that you associate with your brand and stick to them so that customers can easily search and find you. And make sure that you fun it up a bit to add a personal touch.
Use Your Personal Instagram Account. Instagram is a platform meant to show the “real” side of people’s lives and businesses. Followers want to get insights into how you live your life, what causes you support, who your customers are, and how you define success. Instagram shows people a mix of the personal and professional traits that define you and allows them to think of you as a real person that they can trust.
Post Regular Long-Form Content on LinkedIn. You can crush it on LinkedIn. You can create value with your content and agenda. This creates an audience that will look to you for guidance and leadership. And you can push these messages out to other social platforms, blogs, and websites to build additional exposure. Becoming active on LinkedIn should become a commitment to round out your personal marketing plan.
Create a Standalone Personal Website. A simple website with an ‘About’ page, including your blog, is all you need to get started. Start to consistently blog and share that content across your personal social media profiles. If it’s available, opt for a first name + last name dot com domain.
Become a Blogger. Blogging is great, but only if people are reading and engaging with your content and believe that its relevant to their lives. One of the easiest ways to get out there, even if your website traffic is low, is to amplify your content through a discovery channel, such as Outbrain or Taboola. You only pay when someone clicks-through and you can start with a very small budget.
Be a Life-Time Learner. Spend time reading and learning, daily. Absorb as much information as possible. And be cognizant that your message should change and evolve as your industry moves along. Being “in the know” and ahead of the curve is what will guarantee your role as a leader.
Warren Buffett said,
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
This is your time. Go brand yourself to become a better you.