You’re walking into a new business pitch, do you know where your personal brand is?
It’s 9 a.m. on a Monday, do you know where your personal brand is??
Your manager is making small talk with you by the Keurig, do you know where your personal brand is???
If you answered no to any of the above, continue reading. If you answered yes, still continue reading. Your greatest weapon can be your personal brand but only if you take this seemingly useless and laughable concept completely serious. Ignoring semantics, your personal brand can and should be incorporated into your professional life on a daily basis. However, rolling out a brand goes far beyond showing a little personality, instead you must take a good, long look at yourself in the office’s unisex bathroom mirror and commit to always being On Brand. Here’s how:
Step one: See the brand.
The best way to build a brand is to think about what you want people to associate with you when your name comes up in conversation. For example, “Are you talking about Kelly Anderson? Her Twitter content is really great and totally sharable.” Pick your strengths and shine the brightest, most obnoxious spotlight on them 24/7 for all to see – even if they didn’t necessarily ask to see.
Some people make it life’s mission to stay at least twenty feet away from the spotlight – even I can’t make eye contact with someone giving me a compliment – but there’s nothing wrong with making your strengths known especially if they those around you also gain from the benefits.
Advanced Tip: Have no shame.
Step two: Be the brand.
If you build a personal brand and no one is around to see it, does it really exist? Answer, it doesn’t.
Everything from the way you handle phone conversations to the tweets you send to the way you present yourself in a meeting is part of the larger message you’re sending about your brand.
Each day, find a way your brand can produce value. If your strength is writing, take on as many writing projects that your plate can handle. If you’re the creative type, make it a point to suggest the most ridiculous idea in every brainstorm you join. Do you think you’re funny? Find a way to make the room laugh in the first ten minutes of a new business pitch. And polite “I’m laughing because I don’t know what else to do” laughter doesn’t count.
Advanced Tip: Update your Facebook status to “In a serious relationship with my brand”
Step three: Reinvent the brand.
Your brand isn’t set in stone. If that were the case I would still be three-barrelling my hair and listening to Ashlee Simpson. Instead, think of it as a narrative that continues to evolve. You will (hopefully) learn new skills and develop new interests over time, so your brand is bound to change and it is best not to fight it. Rather, embrace the storytelling opportunity.
Advanced Tip: Create an editorial calendar for all of your brand updates
Always remember that you are in control of the impressions you give off, don’t leave it to chance and let others take the lead. Your brand is your personal visibility campaign, and guess what? You’re the campaign manager. Congrats!