What makes a Strong Personal Brand?
Personal Branding? Say What?
In the 3 months, I have given dozens of interviews to many different companies in hopes of finding a good internship, and all of these companies had almost the same questions for me:
Tell us about yourself.
What are your Skills.
What is your Experience?
Where do you see yourself in the next ten years?
What are your likes and dislikes?
Why should we hire you?
I must have a decent personal brand, because I got a call from many of the companies that I had applied to. What's a personal brand got to do with anything? Look at the questions above again, each question is aimed to explore and understand your personal brand.
'Tell us about yourself' - Define your Brand.
'What are your skills' - Position yourself.
'What is your experience' - How old is your brand.
'What are your likes and dislikes' - What is your Brand Personality?
'Why should we Hire you?' - What differentiates you from other brands out there.
Starting to see the relation yet? Don't worry if you're still not there yet, by the end of this blog you will be. Personal Branding is all about branding yourself. It tells the world who are you, and what makes you who you are. We all have a personal brand whether we acknowledge it or not. Our Personal Brands have a strong influence on our life. People having strong brands are more successful than those with weak ones.
Do You Think Your Personal Brand Is Strong?
What Makes Personal Brands So Important?
As I said everyone is the CEO of his own personal brand weather he or she is aware of it or not. Everything we do contributes to the equity of our brand. If we have a strong brand, we'll get better career opportunities, more recognition, and greater social influence. If we don't then lets suffice to say we will be deprived of all the perks of a strong social brand.
I will quote my own example to show how our personal brands can impact all aspects of our life. Back in school and through college, I seriously lacked self-confidence. I had skills, but I didn't know how to make the best of them. I wasn't good with people, and I was always trying to impress others. Instead of focusing on how I can improve myself, I tried to imitate others and shape myself to their preferences. Do you think? I constituted a strong brand at that point?
I didn't have a vision or a mission. My brand lacked direction. I had no sense of fashion, my brand didn't have good packaging. I did not know how to advertise my skills, My brand didn't have a competitive edge. I couldn't communicate well, let's suffice to say my brand was a disaster.
With a brand like that, Do you think I would have been been able to avail opportunities available to me? I failed to create value for others,and so I wasn't valued either. I was neither satisfied nor successful. With an attitude like that and seriously week I didn't get any important positions, and I wasn't recognized. No surprise is it?
Years later, Things shifted drastically. Once I found my direction, I knew what I want to achieve I was able to revitalize my brand and make it stronger then ever before. I dressed well, talked well, and worked well. My social circle and social influence increased. I was the person that everyone was looking for. Both socially and professionally, I was highly successful.
It was the power of my personal brand that triggered this change. Our Brands defines who we are, and who we are defines what we achieve. I believe we all have a unique competitive edge, we just need to recognize it and learn how to brand it properly to capitalize it. It's not rocket science everyone can do it.
How Do I Strengthen My Brand?
Now that we have established how important it is to build brands, Let's come to the focal point of our discussion- How to Build A Strong Personal Brand?
Everything I mention here is from personal experience and It has worked for me, I believe it will help you too.
Before you're ready to do anything else, you need to find your direction. What is it that you want to achieve?
I know It's easier said than done, but experimenting with different skills helps you find what may appeal to you. Travel, read blogs and books, and try new things. Give yourself the freedom to experiment with different skills. Find your passion, and until that happens find something you're good at.
Build a direction for yourself, where do you want to be in the next 10 years. What sort of personal Brand do you want to have.
Build Confidence and Take Control
Once you know what you're capable of you need to be confident and persistent. Tell yourself every single day that you have what it takes to reach your goals. Write it on a poster and post it in your room. Put sticky notes on your desktop screen, Put it in your phone wallpaper. Make yourself believe that you're capable.
Surround yourself with positive people, avoid the being around pessimist people. By reinforcing the idea that you're capable and important, you'll eventually start to believe it. In this way you'll be able to take control of your brand.
Build your Competitive Advantage
Everybody has certain unique skills and abilities that can be developed into a strong competitive edge for their personal brand. Find your hidden talents, nourish them and grow them into qualities that make your brand stand out.
You may be a good speaker, painter, writer, artist, designer, programmer or anything else. The possibilities are endless you need to find something that suits you and work to become the best in it.
Market your Brand
A good brand isn't going to be successful until it gets the recognition it deserves, same goes for your personal brand. Once you're aware of your skills, learn how you can market them. Good character speaks for itself, but when it comes to choosing a profession you'll need to have some backup.
Make sure your Social Media Profiles especially your LinkedIn Profile reflects your expertise. Participate in events and seminars to meet new people and grow your network. Never miss an opportunity to earn practical experience in the field that interests you. There's no substitute for practical knowledge.
It isn't rocket science to strengthen a brand, but it does require a lot of persistence and will power. Confidence comes naturally with practice and expertise. Believe in yourself, and learn what you're good at; find your passion and build your personal brand on it. With a strong personal brand, nobody can stand in the way of your success.