We live in a wonderful, connected digital world where most of us already have a personal brand, at least online. According to an AVG study, 92 percent of children under the age of two already have a digital footprint.
The question is, are you nurturing, developing and indeed managing your personal brand?
In the digital economy where your LinkedIn profile, blog posts and social ranking are more vital to career success than a smart CV and a business card – a personal brand is a must for every young and upcoming executive or entrepreneur.
So here are 5 steps to creating and building an awesome personal brand.
1. Start thinking of yourself as a brand
What do you stand for, what are your values and what are you passionate about? Nobody does it better than Branson when it comes to personal branding. His passion for ‘challenging the status quo’, whether it be airlines, telecoms or credit cards matches the same set of values as the Virgin empire he has built.
Watch Simon Sinek’s TED video, ‘Start With Why’ to get you on track to discovering your ‘why’: the core values of your personal brand.
2. Build your online profile
When was the last time you searched your own name? Try it and see how you rank on Google – your LinkedIn profile will probably come up first, followed by other social platforms like Facebook and then any mentions of your name on directories or articles you may have posted.
Stay up to date with all this by setting up alerts for your name. If you have a common name or it’s linked to a famous actor, try using a middle initial for your online brand.
3. Establish your personal website
Next, claim your domain name, yourname.com or yourname.com.au and then create your personal website. You can even use the new branded.me to generate your website, customise the content (it can automatically populate direct from your LinkedIn profile) and then publish when ready.
Once your site is up you’ll find it will rank highly when people search your name and the best news is that you control the content!
4. Become an influencer
Cultivating a strong personal brand is just as much about being responsive to what is being said as it is about creating intellectual property. Your brand needs to stand for something and you need to become the influencer in this space.
Launch a blog about what you are passionate about, publish articles around your area of expertise on LinkedIn and comment on other people’s posts. Remember that every tweet you send, every status update you make or every picture you share, contributes to your personal brand.
5. Associate with market leaders
Leverage the power of other established brands by associating your personal brand with theirs. Start with where you went to school or college and join their alumni groups and follow influential mega brands and market influencers relevant to your passion or area of expertise.
Build trust in your personal brand by having others talk about you; submit a guest post to a company blog or write a media release and submit via seekingmedia.com.au or become a ‘source’ for interviews and comment at sourcebottle.com.au.
Business author and speaker, Tom Peters says; “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.”
Tony Eades is the Director of Brand Strategy at BrandManager, a creative digital communications and inbound marketing agency based in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
Image: Derek Gavey, via Flickr