“Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, 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.”
– Tom Peters
You, yes you, have a personal brand. The question is whether or not you are managing it. It is easier than you think to have a say in how others perceive you.
And the truth is, perception is reality.
So how do others perceive you? Where do you currently stand with your personal brand? A simple Google search of your name followed by location will give you a good idea. More than you expect may come up in those results—from online directories to where you work and everything in between. This includes social media profiles and those photos that you thought would never see the light of day.
Are the search results in line with how you want the world to see you? If not, here are three ways that you can genuinely develop and strengthen “Me, Inc”, a.k.a. your personal brand.
1. Establish your authenticity. Your authentic voice is the foundation to establishing your personal brand. Through a bit of soul searching you can discover and build the strong base on which to manage your personal brand.
From a young age, we are all influenced by opinions about who we should be, what we should do and how we should do it. As we get older, we get caught up in the daily grind and often let our true selves take the backseat. Take the time to clearly define who you are or—better yet—who you want to be tomorrow.
Determine your purpose: this will help to direct your ambitions, visions and goals. Think of this as your own personal mission statement. Once you pinpoint what you stand for—what drives you—you’ll have an obvious path on how to express your authenticity.
2. Speak your authenticity. Verbally communicate your truth in a manner where people will understand your authentic voice. You have the opportunity to do this daily through regular interactions with others, networking events, and social gatherings. Your words hold power and will influence how others perceive you. A warm welcoming “hello” versus a cold shoulder will speak volumes.
When it comes to meeting someone for the first time, having an intentionally crafted and transparent “elevator pitch” will safeguard that what you want to convey is actually what you do convey. It should easily allow others to understand what it is you stand for—the core of your personal brand. You are unique and your pitch should be as well. Get creative. We are constantly networking and meeting new folks; use your pitch as a means to stand out and to be memorable.
3. Show your authenticity. Through nonverbal actions you solidify what it is that you have been saying all along. Nonverbal signals, such as body language, eye contact, and facial expressions are resoundingly powerful in influencing how others perceive you. Your eyes, for example, can exude confidence (or lack thereof) while a slight smile radiates approachability. The eyes are known as the window to the soul and being aware of your facial expressions along with your body language will show your personal brand to those you are interacting with. We are more inclined to engage someone who appears open, likeable and competent.
Your digital identity is also a great place to show your authenticity. You can blog and use other social outlets to let others get to know you through your written communication.
We live in a visual world. Ensure that what others see is the authentic self you have worked so hard to establish. Remember that Google search…what you see is what they see.
From your clothing choices to your Instagram account, make sure that the story you are telling is yours. Consistency with your personal brand reinforces what people expect from you. Managing these expectations will allow others to not only understand you but to connect with and genuinely trust you. And we all know that trust is the key component to lasting personal and professional relationships.
Start today by being open with yourself so that you can be open with others. Authenticity is where it’s at.
About the Author:
Alaina is the Owner, Head Shooter & Personal Brand Manager at Upstate Headshots. She loves watching her clients transform from “nervous” to “knockout” as they finally get to see themselves in a way they’d never thought possible. She enjoys seeking out new adventures and is a self-proclaimed holistic health nut.