When thinking about your most favourite brands, what comes to mind? Is it the brand’s name or the brand’s attributes you identify with, or both? Attributes are a set of unique fundamentals that identify the physical characteristics and personality traits of a brand and its products in the market. The same applies to individuals, like you, and how your distinct personal branding appears online and offline. If done well, it will allow anyone – from your friends, future business partner or a recruiter – to recognise and eventually advocate for you, regardless of whether you are an entrepreneur or a corporate employee.
In a world disrupted by the pandemic, climate change, a mental-health crisis, global market volatility and high unemployment rates, and with social media having a big influence on today’s society (both good and bad), it is worth considering the profile you have already created for the world, and how you could position yourself and stand out in the job market or in your organization.
For almost any organization, the most obvious change that took place over the last 12 months is that over 50 percent of employees now work remotely or have hybrid roles. A.I. is playing a new role in hiring, and digital interviews or interviews conducted entirely by an A.I. hiring manager are the new norm. Skill sets are changing across marketing, logistics, HR and education, and you have less time to impress recruiters and convey your message, especially when there are high numbers of applicants chasing the one role.
Additionally, around 92 percent of recruiters will check your online presence, so it is worthwhile understanding the criteria and benefits of having an authentic personal brand that you can leverage, no matter your future career steps.
How can you stand out both online and in person?
First, I think it is good if you familiarize yourself with today’s recruitment processes and assess your current social media presence. Are you consistent across all channels; what attributes do you display across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.?
Having defined brand attributes (your name, purpose, values etc.) communicated consistently will help you represent your personal brand and develop your brand identity and, ultimately, your brand strategy. The process of developing a personal brand will not only help you to gain clarity around your qualifications and who you are as a person, establishing credibility, but it will also give you an exceptional and distinctive competitive edge moving forward.
It will help you to build trust and build your reputation. It will help you to open doors when networking and allow you to access that hidden job market. Personal branding will lift your confidence, highlight your strengths, and provide you with direction for a consistent strategy.
I am lucky to have Lois Freeke share her perspective on personal branding below. Lois is not only a successful international recruiter, but also a certified personal branding specialist and career coach.
Lois: I was a very early adopter of personal branding. I trained under the now renowned expert, William Arruda, and became certified under his program, Reach 1-2-3 Success™. There are three stages of this methodology:
extract – to unearth your unique promise of value, which is what a brand is
express – to communicate your brand to your target audience
exude – to manage your brand environment.
The process requires in-depth assessments of yourself, the perception of your current personal brand, and your competitors. Personal branding is learning what makes you unique and valuable to your target audience. They need to know about you to help you achieve your goals. It ensures you are presenting to your target audience with clarity, consistency and constancy – otherwise known as the 3 Cs of branding. The benefits include becoming more visible and differentiated, so you will be at a strategic advantage in your life and career. Commodities are not as in demand as strong brands, nor do they command higher prices or salaries.
So, what does it take to build a strong personal brand?
Creating a credible personal brand requires you to identify what you and your brand stand for: your core values, strengths, accreditations and experience. Who is the real you?
This does not mean you are not able to change and modify your career path, so long as you are recognizable as your authentic self.
Examples of people with powerful personal brands are Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson, Jack Ma, Angela Merkel, Jacinda Ardern, Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Chris Hemsworth, Greta Thunberg and Billie Eilish. They have all been able to make a significant impact on the world with their clear, consistent, authentic and constant messaging, which is recognizable and delivered with confidence in everything they do.
Another prominent example is Elon Musk who has an identity that distinctly relays his Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and helps him make a lasting impression on his target audience, followers and customers.
A personal brand is an extension of brand building that involves a person (or group of people) who develops and maintains an image by communicating ideas, principles and philosophies.
Below you will find an example of how you can structure and develop your personal brand.
Once you have put in the effort and have the clarity of what your personal brand stands for, you can start planning your strategy. How will you position yourself? How will you promote yourself?
What are the channels through which you would like to make an impact? This is not intended to be a comprehensive list, but rather some ideas on how you can start thinking about developing your personal branding strategy and why it is important for your career development.
Building your brand around what truly motivates and interests you is key, as is consistency in delivery. This will enable you to develop an authentic brand image that transcends time, sectors and roles.
Establishing your personal brand will help you to stand out in a crowded marketplace, and add more credibility and influence. It will also help others to understand your uniqueness and feel more inclined to recommend you, therefore attracting opportunities from people in the space you are in or would like to be in.
All this will help you to achieve your goals, to present them consistently and to be visible in a growing virtual reality with all its connections.
Get in touch if you have questions around personal branding, how to extract your strengths and values or developing an effective purpose statement.
Iris - Your Transformational Coach
I-YTC is about maximising and sustaining the wellbeing and performance of individuals and organisations in harmony with their environment.