Businesses have brands that they’ve created to deliver a message to their consumers. The best brands sell an “experience” which is the key takeaway with understanding the concept of branding. So how does this apply to us as individuals when thinking about our personal brand?
At its very essence, a brand is simply a distinguishable mark. You look at a logo and think “Okay, that’s their brand” but it’s so much more than just a graphic. A visual brand delivers a message the same way your personal brand is your unique message to the world. It’s the imprint you leave on others. It’s how you make people feel and how they remember you. It’s your reputation 2.0.
While social media can help amplify your personal brand, in some cases it can destroy it.
Some of you may remember Justine Sacco and the #HasJustineLandedYet thread. Justine was a director of corporate communications at IAC who was traveling to South Africa for the holiday season in 2013. Prior to boarding her 11 hour flight, she sent out this tweet that launched a viral tweetstorm: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” The tweet began trending while she was mid-flight and the uproar over it caused her to lose her job.
Let Sacco’s experience be a reminder to us all to be conscious of what we post in public forums. After all, at the time of that infamous tweet, Sacco only had 170 followers.
Don’t allow that incident to scare you from building your personal brand online. These days, it’s so important. When developing your authentic personal brand, ask yourself the following questions:
Am I following my bliss?
People who are doing what they truly love tend to have a strong personal brand. Their career is rooted in their passion and that energy is contagious. People love to be around those who give off positive energy so if you’re not doing what your heart desires then think about what you can do about that.
What is my reputation?
Be an active participant in the conversations about you when you are not around. Are you leaving the right impression? If you’re creative, are you creating? If you’re a go-getter, are you being nice to people on your rise to the top? If you’re a nurturing coach, are you sending out positive vibes?
How am I audacious?
Memorable personal brands are those that stand tall in their truth. Self doubt can tarnish even the best personal brand. It takes courage to stand up for your authentic self. Owning who you are means accepting yourself for who you are and as you are and being unapologetic about it.
What is my story?
There’s a big difference between TMI and telling your authentic story. Every story we share should have a teachable moment. We all have a story and yours is unique to you. Even if you have gone through something that’s not uncommon how you respond to that experience gives you a unique perspective. Tap into your story and give it life.
What are my dreams?
It’s great to be in the present but it’s also important to know where you want to go. Life is a journey but having destination points is what makes the adventure fun and memorable. Knowing what your dreams are serve as reality checks throughout your life. Checking in with yourself to make sure you’re on track with your dreams is something we should do at least once a year.
The value of a personal brand is immeasurable. Everything we do online is captured and remembered. Leverage this to your advantage and watch how your words, actions and behaviors impact the life choices that are presented to you.