This is a great question. So many people invest so much in defining a personal brand that delivers no value. I meet very few people who, in my view, have successfully established a personal brand that has delivered them greater success.
That is not to say, however, that personal branding is not important. It is fundamentally important. This is not to say that personal branding cannot deliver success. It can – just ask – Richard Branson, Kim Kardashian and David Beckham.
Here are some thoughts on how to deliver success from a personal brand:
- Remember that you do not define your personal brand.
You may well define your optimal personal brand, but it is your audience that defines your actual personal brand. What you think you are or want to be is irrelevant. The only thing that matters in terms of your future success is – how others see you.
- There are three stages in personal branding
Phase one in personal branding involves defining your optimal personal brand, the personal brand you believe will deliver success. Having defined your brand, you need to live it. You need to be who and what you think you need to be. Once you are living your brand, you can begin communicating it.
- Others respond to what they want, not what you
Every great brand, personal, product or corporate is built with the audience in mind. Every great brand addresses, first and foremost, the needs, wants, expectations and attitudes of the target audience. Success comes when you understand and respond to your target audience.
- Establish a point of difference
Seth Godin talks about the importance of being remarkable – of being ‘the purple cow’ that everybody notices and talks about. It is essential, therefore, to identify your point of difference, ensuring that your point of difference is entirely consistent with audience requirements.
- Get the skills you need
Living the brand might also mean upskilling. If the optimal brand requires skills at a level you don’t have; then before communicating or claiming that brand, it is essential to acquire those skills. I have known of few good personal branding strategies that have not involved some upskilling.
- Until it is authentic, you have no brand
You are not Richard Branson – never will be and shouldn’t try to be. To live a brand, that brand must come naturally, and while upskilling, improving your presentations, and learning to speak well in public is important, you will only do them well if they come naturally to you. Be the best version of you.
- Recognise that it takes time
Rome was not built in a day, and neither was a personal brand. What is more, it is essential to take the time it takes to define your brand optimally, develop the behaviours that allow you to live your brand, and then communicate in a steadily and methodically without overreach.
- Deliver with absolute consistency
Warren Buffet once suggested that while it takes years to build a brand, it can take just minutes to destroy one. Brands are built with consistent behaviour that is aligned with the brand. Great personal brands are lived 24/7 – 52 weeks a year.
- Manage your social media well
Seth Godin advocates social media as the marketing tool that anyone can use to build their personal brand. He is right. Equally right, however, is the fact that effective personal branding follows the application of a well-managed social media strategy. All channels and posts must be right.
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