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While some inexperienced markets and business executives forget that their personal brand is just as important as the product, service or even the company they represent, a huge number of them is actually quite aware of the fact.
According to 2014 version of Deloitte’s Reputation Risk survey, reputation is the number one risk concern to a vast majority of business executives around the world. As a matter of fact, 88% of them said that they’re explicitly focusing on reputation risk as a key business challenge.
Do You Have a Personal Brand?
In the past, the term “branding” was only related to organizations, but today, with all of the online platforms we have available, basically every one of us has a personal brand. Some people don’t even consciously cultivate their brands, but they still have them nonetheless.
Today, thanks the ubiquity of photo-sharing platforms like Instagram, most children in Western countries have personal brands before they could even speak. As a matter of fact, as CNN reports, 82% of children today have a “digital footprint” before the age of 2, according to a recent AVG study.
So the question isn’t if we have personal brands, but if we chose to cultivate and guide our personal brands or just let them be defined by the rest of the world. If you want to build some authority get more recognition in the business world, you need to start working on your brand as soon as possible.
How to Build and Maintain a Personal Brand
· Start thinking of yourself as a brand
For starters, you have to ask yourself what you want your colleagues and higher-ups to associate with you when they think of your name. Do you want them to think about a specific subject matter or do you want general personal qualities to be associated with your name?
And once you figure out how you want to be perceived, you can finally start working on strategies that will boost your brand. The only thing you need to always keep in mind is – try to be as authentic as possible. As Michael Simmons writes in this Forbes article, originality matters more than anything in today’s digital world…
· Monitor your online presence
When people want to find out something about you, they’ll definitely look up your name on Google and take a look at your social network profiles. This means, you want your image to stay consistent over multiple social media platforms, because fewer the differences you have on those profiles, more memorable you’ll be to curious visitors…
Also, you have to take an active role on multiple social media platforms in order to gain some traction, gain more followers and connect to influencers in your branch. And according to statistics compiled by BeEvolve, posting frequency is probably the most important factor in social media growth, so try to post at least a couple times every day in order to stay in the peripheral of your followers…
· Start speaking on a regular basis
If you want to change the way people perceive you in public and establish yourself as an industry expert, you need to start speaking more at public events. Of course, this will require you to develop your communication skills a bit and maybe even consult a performance coach to help you with your rhetoric.
Simply put, if you speak in the same manner as your colleagues, you’ll never stand out from the crowd. You have to be aware that some people will oppose your opinions, but nevertheless, you have remain confident and opened to feedback, because this will help you improve and do better the next time.
· Build a strong personal narrative
Most brand – whether corporate or personal – largely depend on a strong narrative – basically, if you want to interest people in your brand, you have to have them invested in your story. Just think about some successful entrepreneurs who have strong personal brands like Martha Stuart and Mark Cuban, all of them have clear and consistent stories…
Even if you’re interested in a number of different topics or you have multiple passions, your narrative is even more important, because you have to have a unified theme. If you don’t know how to unify all of your interest or you have trouble defining your personal story, you should definitely read Dorie Clark’s “Reinventing You” to get some pointers…
Once you get on the path to creating a great personal brand, you cannot just give up midway. If you want to become and remain successful in any business, you have to remain consistent for years and the same principle applies to personal branding.
You have to realize that the time when people stayed at one job for more than 20 years are long gone. Just consider this – today, Baby Boomers on average have more than 11 jobs over their working lives – and the next generation can expect even more instability.
But once you being sharpening your image and carving out a unique brand, business opportunities will start coming your way. Lastly, don’t be afraid to talk about your flaws and weaknesses, because it won’t hurt your professional life at all and will only make you more relatable to possible business partners…