Building Blocks for Building Your Personal Brand – Part 2

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ELEVATING TO THE NEXT LEVEL

In continuation of last week’s article on Building Blocks for Building your Personal Brand, we delve into the part 2 straight away and I must say the response to part 1 was encouraging. It confirms to me that this is an important topic and many of us are keen to improve our personal brand for the obvious benefits it bestows on us by making us more valuable, now and in the feature.

Additional points to note, as you build your personal brand:
• Build a fantastic online presence. Start with using your real name. You want to be easily identified and everybody should know that it is you. Those of us with very common names should consider using our initials or a number with meaning in conjunction to enable others distinguish us from persons with the same name.

In addition to this, I see all kinds of fake names or weird arrangements that people use to identify themselves. This should change immediately, because it is impossible for people to know that this is you because your name is your number one identifier. Project your name just like an organisation projects its name.

Have a professional headshot. Invest in getting a photographer to ensure that what the world first sees of you creates a positive impression. Your headshot is a critical component of every online profile you build. Every site you create online usually requires that you upload your headshot. When it is offline, giving a speech or when contributing to a publication, your headshot is also required. You need to ensure your headshot reinforces the brand you want to portray.

• Vocalise your brand. What is the visual vocabulary of your brand? Organisations know the importance of developing and consistently applying its brand identifier system. When you see your organisation’s logo, colours, fonts and other imagery, you instantly recognise them. This is the same way you need to organise your personal brand. Communicating your personal brand requires a visual identity. When you consistently use visual identity like colour, font and images in all of your communications, it becomes easy for people to recognise you.

• Have a professional e-signature. Your e-signature should convey your name, what you do, phone number, website (if any), email, address and social media handles. This will make people take you seriously and showcase your brand in a crisp and professional manner.

• Make your resume speak for you. Know that your resume is not history or a biography, it’s your marketing tool. Know your target’s needs, how and why your return on investment will fit their plan. Think of your content as helpful, valuable, or critical. Showcase critical, edit down valuable and dump helpful. Think impact and highlight the one best thing you did and support it with accomplishments.

• Brand your Bio. Your bio should be the voice of your brand. Showcase what makes you special. It has been noted that the most compelling and effective branded bios create connection through their authenticity.

• Build credibility. Become a thought leader. Be known as an expert in something. Have a message. I have said it many times and I will say it again. Your personal brand is about your message, expertise and what you stand for. It is not about your outward appearance. The outward appearance is usually just an identifier e.g. Fela, Mandela, etc.
Develop your expertise in that area you have decided upon and reinforce your message every time. Exude confidence in the way you pass across this message and do so in a way that ensures you have command of your area of expertise.

• Be purposeful with what you share. Every picture, status update, comment you contribute affects your personal brand. Remember that employers now check social media platforms before they employ and many good candidates have lost employment or admission to prestigious schools because of what was said or had done on social media.

• Associate with other strong brands. When you associate with other brands, their positive attributes rub off on you and enhances your own brand. This is why we must be conscious of the 3 Cs – college, company and colleagues. What kinds of college will you attend or send your children to, this is for those of us who can no longer do anything about our education from scratch, but mid-career, we can consider attending an Ivy League school to enhance our brands.

The company you work for goes a long way in determining the direction your career will go. To ensure you are in the right direction career wise do not take just any job or work for any company be purposeful about who you work for and where you work. Your colleagues and friends also matter. We all know the adage, show me your friends and I will tell you who you are. Choose your friends wisely.

• What is your personal story? Your personal story enhances your brand. All strong brands have a personal story. They all went through some level of perseverance and doggedness in getting to where they have reached today. They started somewhere and made a conscious decision about where they wanted to go to and they were not deterred by the many detours life threw at them. Name any person with a strong brand, dig a bit, you will see that they have a strong compelling personal story. What is your story? If you do not have one, how do you want to start yours and when?

A strong personal brand is like a garden, once you lay the groundwork and plant the seeds. You’ll be in a great position to reap the benefits. Good luck!