For a long time, I had always thought “brand” or “branding” is only synonymous with corporate organizations or businesses until I realize that as humans, we can also be a brand; exciting, right? Uhm. The question you might want to ask is that what is brand or branding?
In simple terms, a brand is an identifying symbol, mark, logo, name, word, and/or sentence that companies or individuals use to distinguish their product/themselves from others.
In simpler term, “Branding is what companies stand for,” Typically a strong brand stands out in the crowd; an example is Coca-cola
So, let’s break this down further before getting too deep, firstly you need to understand that you are a brand as an individual. A personal brand is comparable to a corporate brand in many ways. It is exactly who you are, what you stand for, the values you embrace, and how you express those values.
Your personal brand is how you promote and position yourself. It is the unique combination of your skills, experience, and personality that you want the world to see you. It is how you tell your story and how it reflects your conduct, behavior, spoken and unspoken words, and attitudes. It is not just about wearing nice jackets, doing photoshoots you must be know n for offering value.
It’s getting interesting, I guess, so how do you build your personal brand?
1. Find Yourself
To build a personal brand that perfectly reflects your personal and professional identity, you first need to know who you are; self-awareness is critical. Be reflective, and create a list of your unique strengths and weaknesses. Ask yourself the following questions:
- In which areas of work do I excel?
- What motivates me?
- What characteristics have others complimented me on?
- Which projects have others had to help me with repeatedly?
- Which roles seem to drain my energy?
- Which projects can I spend hours on without feeling overwhelmed or tired?
2. Get Yourself a Mentor or Mentors
You need to find out who the thought leaders are in whatever field you’re interested in or those who inspire you and don’t just follow them, engage them and be in their faces. In building a personal brand, the goal is to stand out—but you can’t rise to the top without standing on the shoulders of those who are there already.
3. Be Known for Something
In building a personal brand, you have to be known for something. Don Jazzy is known music production, Omojuwa Japhet in Nigeria is known as an influencer and a public analyst and Ogbeni Dipo is known as a Academic Entrepreneur You need to decide what you want to represent. Your personal brand is now beyond a reflection of who you are today; it’s a roadmap of where you want to go.
4. Define Your Audience
Before you start committing time and resources in building your personal brand, you need to decide the audience you are interesting in reaching, is it individual in the same industry, or thought leaders or groups of experts in a field, are they young people or adults, all these will determine how you tell your story.
5. Embrace Networking
As you nurture your ideal personal brand, it’s essential to network regularly (and effectively) to grow your professional circle. You need to connect with peers and industry thought-leaders by going to formal and informal networking events. LinkedIn is also a platform you can leverage. The more connections you make and the more value you can provide in your interactions, hence, the tendency your personal brand will be noticed
6. Choose a Suitable Platform
For you to be able to share your story effectively, you need to choose a platform, and the reason is that you can’t be active on all of the social media platforms, identify the one that aligns with the value you portray and maximize it, use it to your advantage to promote your brand. If you are considering thought leadership on subject you might want to consider LinkedIn, if it’s relationship and marriage subject, Facebook will be a good place, if yours is politics and social issues, Twitter is the platform, there are also new social platforms like Clubhouse, Tiktok, check the platforms and choose the one that best works for you.
7. Offer Value
Lastly, there is no how you can build a personal brand without offering value to your network community, value in terms of the information you provide, the assistance you provide and your contribution to the growth and developmental issues.