5 Traditional Strategies That Will Effectively Grow Your Personal Brand
These strategies have been discussed in terms of growing a brand, but can they also translate to helping people grow their personal brand?
I'll be honest: Before I made it to the Top 40 Under 40 list, I had no idea how much a personal brand helps companies. I had this idea that personal branding was only for individuals and that my marketing firm would never benefit from one.
But I was wrong. Think about it: How many major brands are better known by the people that run them? SpaceX is known by Elon Musk. Apple by Steve Jobs. And let's not forget Microsoft, better known by Bill Gates.
And the secret to their success? One part, a good business plan, and the other, personal branding.
A good personal brand is all about gaining experience and establishing connections. But with so much at stake, how do you go about taking your personal brand to the next level?
Here are five sure-fire ways to boost your personal brand and image.
1. Work on personal development
A personal brand without personal development is like a boat with no sail. It looks good in its place, but you and I both know that it will never move.
The easiest way to develop a personal brand is to conduct an in-depth strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) test. Your strengths and weaknesses are internal factors that either raise the value of your work or depreciate it. Think about what makes you unique in the industry — maybe you have a particular qualification or work with a well-known company.
Then think about the areas where you lack and fill those gaps in. Can't stay punctual? Create a daily schedule. Worry too much? Practice meditation and breathing exercises. Everyone has their weaknesses, but your general goal should be to eliminate them.
Once you've reflected on internal factors, take a look at external factors. What opportunities do you have? Maybe a new company has just opened up down the street, and you know you can ace the interview. Or perhaps the industry you work in has been seeing a boost in terms of economy. Whatever the case, assess the opportunities you have and use your strengths to exploit them.
On the other hand, also assess the threats. Are there people who are more competitive in your field than you are? Is your area of expertise becoming obsolete? Is there any specialty in your field that will not go obsolete which is worth studying? Threats, while they may seem benign at first, can turn pretty ugly pretty fast.
Now that you have your SWOT analysis jotted down, take some time to work on yourself. Look at your strengths and opportunities and think about how you can take them to the next level. Reflect on your weaknesses and threats and how you can circumvent them.
2. Clear vision of your industry position
Knowing where you stand will help you understand where to go. Having a clear vision of your current industry position will enlighten you on how much hot water you're in.
Consider how you compare against other people. Are there people more qualified than you? What qualifications do they have? How can you acquire those qualifications and bring your personal brand to the same level?
This goes hand in hand with creating a more specific audience. Once you know where you stand, you can then figure out who to target. You know that your target audience is employers who want to hire reliable salespersons if you're a sales clerk. Shooting for the moon by directly approaching CEOs of big companies is being a bit too greedy. Start small and work your way upwards.
A clear vision of your industry positioning helps to develop your brand as well. Put yourself in a position where the company relies on you and not the other way around. Research into your subject matter and become a certified expert. Establish yourself as an authority in the field that can be trusted and relied on.
3. Consider the scope of your audience
The main reason why so many people fail with their personal branding is that they don't know who they're targeting.
As a rule of thumb, your target audience is always the person one designation above you. If you're a trainee in your field, your target audiences are mentors and project directors who can testify to your hard work. If you're a project director, your target audience should be the executives, one position above you. Aiming for the top will only blur your vision of what people you need to impress.
With time, your personal brand will be on its way to the top of the pyramid. Establishing a specific target audience also helps you be more precise in your wording. If you know who you're addressing, you know the type of work attitude and dedication they're looking for.
4. Become a volunteer
Volunteering in community activities is more helpful than you think. While, yes, you should volunteer for the sake of helping the community, there's a monetary benefit to it too. When you're involved in your community, it not only expands your network, but also establishes you as a trusted individual. And when dealing with interviewers, trust is essential.
If there are any volunteering opportunities related to your field of expertise, never miss out. Write them down as one of your opportunities and take out some time to partake in them.
5. Maintain a good public image
A good recommendation or hearty testimonial may just be the winning line on your resume. Think of it this way: You wouldn't trust your million-dollar business to someone you don't know, would you? Then why would other people? Knowing who you're entrusting your work with beforehand is crucial. And if you want your personal brand to grow, a good public image is a must.
Maintaining a good social media profile is the first step. LinkedIn is your secret ingredient. It's the key to most personal brand successes.
Establish a good LinkedIn profile. Perhaps hire someone to write an engaging brand overview for you. And most importantly: keep networking with the people who work in your field. A good network only gets you more successful interviews. And if you find the right people, you might even be invited to a job position.
Reputation should be your next priority. With so many individuals who lie on their resumes, stand out. Be yourself. If your work is good enough, you can sit there and let other people do the talking for you. With enough references, you'll be on your way to personal development in no time.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor