In the past few years, the term “personal branding” has become much more popular. Google searches of the term have steadily increased, even though people do not often fully understand what a personal brand entails.
Important to note is that the personal brand is not about changing who you are or creating an image to meet someone else's expectations. It is about identifying who you are and which selling points make you stand out from the crowd. People who market their own brand are more likely to be seen as experts in their field, thus receiving job offers at higher levels. Here is how it works:
Before creating and displaying the own brand, thorough self-reflection is necessary. How do you currently project yourself to the outside world? What do you have to offer that you would like others to see? The personal brand can include, for instance, a mission, a niche product or profession, a lifestyle, as well as abilities. It helps to first get a feeling of how one is perceived in the surroundings by asking others directly.
After having gathered a clear picture of the self, the next step is to plan what and who to reach with the personal branding. By defining the goal, it becomes easier to figure out the competitors in the same niche. Their self-portrayal should be taken into consideration to contrast with the own brand. Choosing the target group should be accompanied with analyzing what's needed and how this fits with the personal strengths.
Once a concept for the personal brand is put together, visibility needs to be created. Usage of social media accounts should be in line with the branding, as well as on networking events, in interviews and conferences, and in the overall appearance, the personal brand should be represented consistently.
A strong personal brand has its advantages. You can stand out as an expert in your field, create awareness for yourself, and automatically connect with other influencers in the business. Here, it is more important who knows you, rather than who you know. On the other hand, personal branding can also limit you in some cases. For example, you may be viewed as an absolute expert in a specific industry, whereas you would like to shift your career to a completely different field after a few years.
Personal re-branding is possible. Retreat from the different channels for a while without being present with your old brand, and find out what your new brand should be about. Once the new concept is created, start your new marketing by building an atmosphere of optimism and of departure to something bigger and better, rather than defending your change. Give it some time and the personal brand will run as successfully as the old one.