I say McDonald’s, you immediately think golden arches. I say Nike, you think of that familiar “swoosh.” Those images and the emotional tie we bring to them are the tip of the branding iceberg. A business brand is an undeniably important competitive tool. Just as it is important for a business to develop its own brand, a personal brand can prove to be an invaluable strategic tool in an increasingly competitive marketplace for jobs, promotions and funding.
Personal branding is becoming just as important in business.
A positive personal brand creates a consistent, targeted impression that helps you achieve your personal and professional goals. But, it is important to understand that a great personal brand is built on a foundation of authenticity. It cannot be faked, but must always be honest.
When you clearly stand apart and above others competing for the same jobs, for advancement or for supporting an entrepreneurial initiative, you generate interest and are much more likely to land interviews and gain advocates through your personal brand.
Over time, we develop a relationship – good or bad – with a brand. Organizations understand how important it is for that relationship to be a positive one. Anyone who successfully competes in the job market, within a competitive organization, for board positions, or the marketplace of ideas quickly learns the benefits of a positive brand.So, where do you begin to build your personal brand? A good place to start is with your values, the core principles by which you live. They determine your attitudes, choices and actions: the way you present yourself to the world. This may be the most difficult part of building your brand. It requires focus and introspection. It is a good idea to create a baseline by testing your view of yourself against how the “market” perceives you. Think about the impressions you are making on friends, neighbors, business associates. Ask friends, family and colleagues how they view you. How do they perceive your strengths and weaknesses? Does their view align with what you are promoting as your brand? Determining the gap between how you want to be perceived and the market’s “image” of you will tell you how much work you need to do to merge your brand with the market’s perception.