This post comes from Charlie Antoine, an author in our series of guest bloggers. Learn more about him here.
Set yourself apart.
Personal branding is the concept of positioning yourself as a ‘brand’ much like a business or product line does. Sometimes people forget that a brand encompasses every aspect of the entity it represents. Of course, one normally associates marketing and advertising (i.e. logos and slogans) as brands but it really is whatever differentiates the entity from everything else.
Even the way employees represent themselves (their personal brands) can reflect the companies they work for as a whole and vice versa.In a way, any individual can be described as a mini “corporation.” That might sound a little ridiculous, so bear with me… When you manage your bank accounts you act as accounting and finance. Your inner human resources holds yourself to moral standards. When you network with other people are are an acting salesman. And when you promote yourself and content through your digital footprint you are utilizing your marketing/advertising department.
Taking it down to a personal level, what can you do to separate yourself from everyone else? Focus on how you want others to perceive you, what objective you want to accomplish through personal branding, and what value you have to offer others. Personal branding is great for career building/promoting your skills, networking, telling your story, building a stronger reputation, and even for personal growth.
A great way to set yourself apart is to create a logo for yourself. A logo can be a great identifier using something as simple as your initials or your name with a cool design. Photographers and artists are known to do this. It can reflect what skills you have and show off your personality by what colors you choose.
A personal mantra is a positive phrase you say to yourself that encourages or motivates you. Think of this as your slogan. It has a deep meaning or important connection to you. However, publicizing your mantra can say a lot about your drive and character. My mantra is the Latin phrase “Nil Satis Nisi Optimum,” which means “Nothing but the best is good enough.”
Your personality is a great way to differentiate yourself. Having a positive attitude and optimistic outlook are going to set you apart in people’s minds. Even being serious and stern can give off ‘power’ vibes if used effectively.
A colleague of mine once told me “The one thing that can’t be taken from you is your network.” Just as companies do for marketing and advertising, your network is your audience. By meeting people you put yourself out there to build rapport. Develop an elevator pitch to tell people about yourself. Collect business cards and connections on LinkedIn. A vast network can lead to potential interviews for job seekers or future business for consultants. Even if you have a niche, your network can extend in infinitely many ways with boundless opportunities.
Have you ever Google’d yourself? What were the search results? Having a personal website can build SEO in online searches and can be a portal to tell all you want about yourself. The best part about it is that you have complete control over everything. Show off your logo, mantra, biography, links to social media profiles, and portfolio of pass successes. Also, set up a contact page for people to get in touch.
Social Media Presence
You can’t always be in touch with everyone but social media makes it a little easier to engage with your network. A strong LinkedIn profile is an essential element of your personal brand. LinkedIn allows you to paint your employment history, skills, education, certifications, and volunteer work. Twitter is also a great way to share content to a wide audience. Remember, sharing is caring! Uploading photos on Instagram and Facebook can affect others’ perception of your personal brand so be careful what you post.
There are a number of ways to differentiate yourself with your personal brand. As I stated before, once you have an objective in mind it should be easy to determine how you position yourself. Figure out what works for you and rebrand yourself if need be.