when people use your brand name as a verb, that is remarkable.
-Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett Packard
From McDonald’s to Nike, companies often use branding to associate images or symbols with products in consumers’ minds. Think back to all the times you’ve seen those Golden Arches or the “Swoosh”, and automatically known what company was being referred to and what opinions you had about that particular brand. It can feel strange at first, but to develop your own personal brand, it’s important that you view yourself as the product in this metaphorical situation. Just as companies can be judged by their brand, building your own version will allow you to shape how others perceive your values and opinions.
These next 10 steps are designed to get you well on your way to being a one-person marketing team.
- Figure out who you are.
- Determine what you want to be known for.
- Define your audience.
- Research your desired industry and follow the experts.
- Ask for informational interviews.
6. Prepare an elevator pitch.
7. Embrace networking.
8. Ask for recommendations.
9. Grow your online presence.
10. Remember that your personal brand isn’t just online.
Discovering Your Identity
Creating a brand requires you to first understand yourself, your identity and the values you hold. Ultimately, you are the one who decides what aspects of your identity and personality you want to highlight and promote to the world.
Building a brand from scratch isn’t easy– if it were, everyone would have the name recognition of major celebrities. For inspiration give this TED Talk a listen.
Building Your Brand
If you still don’t know where to start, you can use personality tests, such as the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator or the StrengthsFinder assessment. These tests are designed to assess how your actions in practice may be caused by unconscious character traits, and to help you identify them.
Once you have identified what current traits you possess, you can begin understanding the many dimensions of your personality and leadership styles. You can use this information to inform others about your personality and values.
For the next stage in the process, consider what mediums you want to use – that is, how and in what form (i.e. video, text, tweet, or blog post) do you want others to learn about you?
Promoting Your Brand
In the age of social media, promoting your brand has never been simpler, nor more complicated. With a myriad of platforms to use, how can you ensure you’re using the right one to promote the right message? It can be tricky, but if you follow our tips, you should be well on your way to promoting yourself out in the world.
What to Use Where
With apps like Facebook and Instagram tied to very specific age groups, you may want to borrow branding step #3 from above: who do you want your audience to be?
Younger people have rapidly begun using Instagram and even TikTok to promote themselves in a more visual and creative space. For the past several years, businesses have expanded to official Facebook pages, taking Main Street business digital. Twitter allows you to live stream your train of thought – and rants – to millions. LinkedIn is popular for job seekers to talk about what they’ve accomplished professionally and academically, and to flex their skillsets to the job recruitment community.
Regardless of what medium(s) you decide to use, it is important that it match your intent and audience. If you want to promote your creativity and design skills, make sure your Instagram profile communicates that with pops of color and unique content. If you’re starting a career, make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and that you’re actively connecting with people and organizations.