Whether you’re aware of it or not, whether you like it or not, you have a personal brand. You might not have your own logo or a sign on your forehead announcing it, but it’s just as true. And, like any brand, yours has a particular value based on a variety of factors. This value can increase or decrease depending on the decisions you make, but luckily, you can control it (to some extent).
This may sound self-serving and self-promotional, but it’s about what you’re already doing (or should be doing) to make your way in the world. You wouldn’t show up to a job interview in your pajamas, so why would you let your personal brand become shabby and undesirable?
Here’s some steps you can take to determine and increase the value of your personal brand:
The practice of searching for your own name, and perhaps in conjunction with the institution (work or school) you are associated with, has a bad rap. Thought to be the leisure activity of ego-maniacs, it can actually be very helpful when trying to establish a baseline for your personal brand. What comes up? Does it have anything to do with you? Is it something negative? Survey the internet landscape to see how your name fares. Based on that, you can establish a plan of action.
Control Your Messaging
What do you want people to know about you (and think about you) if you only had 10 seconds to tell them? There’s a pretty good chance that’s all you’ll get from someone, unless they are interested in you for a particular reason and need to learn all they can. As I’ve said previously, start a personal website and blog and write about topics that interest you, that you want to be a part of the conversation on. But remember, keep it simple. Make sure that people come away with the message about your personal brand you want them to. Test this on family, friends, and then total strangers: have them look at your site for only a few seconds and then ask them what their key takeaways are. Are they in line with your intended goals?
Of course, it isn’t all about shameless self-promotion or Jedi mind tricks with a fancy, flashy website. You have to actually produce things of value in your professional and personal life, and network with as many people as possible. Your personal brand and its value are completely interconnected with every facet of your life. The more you can demonstrate the value of your brand, the more it will actually increase in value and importance.
What tips do you have for increasing the value of your personal brand?