Who are you? What do you represent? What values do you want others to see in you? And, perhaps even more importantly, what do you not want to symbolize?
We all can be a brand and cultivate our power to stand out and be unique. This uniqueness draws people to our product, our services, or even just our message. Your personal brand should be about who you are and what you have to offer.
In this era of mass social media, personal branding is something that warrants your most serious consideration. Online, we all create a ‘persona’ that others see and understand. If if you have never considered your personal brand, you still create this online persona with every post, like, and share. You construct a defined persona of preferences that ultimately characterize you to your friends, family, future spouses, employers, lawyers, police, government, criminals, and more. Since it happens whether you engage or not, it is smarter to get a hold on it and shape it all to best represent you.
Now, to be clear, I am not saying to shape your personal brand in any untruthful way as authenticity comes through instantly on the internet. If you are not authentic, then people will know and you will violate your brand. But, untruths can sneak into your personal brand if you are not in control of it all. So, be in control of your personal brand.
Personal brands should be important to everyone. Personal brands are not only for the entrepreneur that owns their own business. It is the secret sauce that can make you stand out of a stack of resumes.
If you do not develop your own personal brand, then others will do it for you. Developing your personal brand is the proactive way of controlling your career development and how you are perceived in the marketplace.
A strong personal brand will impact your ability to get the right jobs, promotions, and increase your ability to attract talent and capital.
Effective personal branding is of pivotal importance, especially if it is essential to advancing your career. Therefore, one should be aware of what it is that you are communicating that may be preventing you from breeding a successful career.
Two critical factors result in effective personal branding: authenticity and credibility.
Authenticity and credibility arise when consistency occurs between what you say and what you do. Like any brand, your own will also come with expectations and should clearly communicate your values, skills and personality. Personal branding is about leaving a mental and preferably indelible impression in the mind of others, which positions you and makes you stand out from the crowd. Continue to adjust your brand strategy to match the changes in your life and objectives. You will need to communicate yourself to others in a simple and easy-to-understand manner – making yourself heard in the midst of all of the information and messages they receive every day.
Think of a few people who you feel possess a strong personal brand and ask yourself the following questions:
- Why did you choose these people?
- What do you find strong about their brands?
- What are you learning from them?
You should take into consideration people you want to be connected to – selecting your target group, your channels, and the frequency of your self-marketing is very important in the direction you would like to go. Also, keep in mind that many years of branding work can be easily destroyed with one adverse action. It is crucial to continuously nurture your brand regularly in order to stay connected with those who can positively impact your brand. Some people choose to hire a brand or PR (Public Relations) managers who can assist in the upkeep of their personal brand and also provide them with exposure.
Building a personal brand takes time and effort, but it is worth it. The need for a personal brand will continue to increase. It is the one thing that no one can take away from you, and it can follow you throughout your career. It is a leadership requirement that lets people know who you are and what you stand for.
Gourani, S. (2019). What Does Your Personal Brand Say About You? Forbes. Retrieved on July 8, 2019 from, https://www.forbes.com/sites/soulaimagourani/2019/01/03/what-does-your-personal-brand-say-about-you/#3da83e46582b
Lake, L. (2019). Tips on Creating and Growing Your Personal Brand. The Balance of Small Business. Retrieved on July 8, 2019 from, https://www.thebalancesmb.com/creating-and-growing-personal-brand-2295814
About the Author:
Michael Martin has more than 35 years of experience in systems design for broadband networks, optical fibre, wireless and digital communications technologies.
He is a Senior Executive with IBM Canada’s Office of the CTO, Global Services. Over the past 14 years with IBM, he has worked in the GBS Global Center of Competency for Energy and Utilities and the GTS Global Center of Excellence for Energy and Utilities. He was previously a founding partner and President of MICAN Communications and before that was President of Comlink Systems Limited and Ensat Broadcast Services, Inc., both divisions of Cygnal Technologies Corporation (CYN: TSX).
Martin currently serves on the Board of Directors for TeraGo Inc (TGO: TSX) and previously served on the Board of Directors for Avante Logixx Inc. (XX: TSX.V).
He serves as a Member, SCC ISO-IEC JTC 1/SC-41 – Internet of Things and related technologies, ISO – International Organization for Standardization, and as a member of the NIST SP 500-325 Fog Computing Conceptual Model, National Institute of Standards and Technology.
He served on the Board of Governors of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and on the Board of Advisers of five different Colleges in Ontario. For 16 years he served on the Board of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Toronto Section.
He holds three master’s degrees, in business (MBA), communication (MA), and education (MEd). As well, he has diplomas and certifications in business, computer programming, internetworking, project management, media, photography, and communication technology.