Ten Things You Can Do to Continue to Build Your Personal Brand - dummies

Ten Things You Can Do to Continue to Build Your Personal Brand

By Susan Chritton

Here are ten tips for how you can distinguish yourself by creating a personal brand — an image and reputation that set you apart — build trust among the people you want to serve; and represent the true, authentic you.

This process — the process of creating your own personal brand — can serve you well whether you’re searching for a first job, exploring a change in career, looking to be more viable and successful in your current workplace, or hoping to serve your community as a volunteer or leader.

Implement your personal brand strategy plan

Your personal brand strategy builds longevity into your brand. Setting a strategy means you are committed to your personal brand for the long haul. You create a personal strategic plan that accurately reflects who you are and what you can do.

Setting the strategy is like setting any good set of goals: You first want to think about the big picture of what you hope to accomplish in communicating with your target audience.

Stay relevant

Doing the personal branding process once and never looking back or reevaluating it are big mistakes. Crafting your brand is not a one-time process. People with strong personal brands continue to evolve by incorporating their new knowledge, changing business trends, or a change of target market into their brand.

In order to keep your personal brand relevant and progressing, you need to set goals and constantly work toward accomplishing them. The world is moving too fast to hang your reputation on a singular effort. Strong brands are always improving and making sure that they are significant to their target market.

Continue to evaluate the competition

Your competition is not always who you think it might be. You need to constantly be looking at who else is serving your target audience and what new services or products he provides. Often, the greatest competition comes from the most unlikely sources, such as an online resource and not just other competitors in your town.

Set up RSS feeds on your known competitors and conduct regular Google searches in your area of expertise. Whenever possible, get direct feedback from your customers about who is trying to woo them away. Keep your finger on the pulse of what is happening in the market and know when you need to ramp up your visibility.

Produce genuine value

You can’t maintain a strong reputation and therefore a strong brand unless you can deliver genuine value to the people you serve. You need to stay current in your area of expertise and continue to find ways to offer a great product or service to your target market.

Work on high-profile projects

One of the best ways to get your personal brand noticed is to play a key role on a high visibility project. Volunteer for the projects that are important to your company or your client. Find extra projects that will allow you to be seen by the people you’re trying to attract.

Of course, you want to make sure that you do a stellar job and that the work you do enhances your brand and doesn’t detract from it.

Set new goals

In a well-known Harvard Business School study, graduates of the MBA program were asked to set clear, written goals for their future and their plans for how to accomplish them. It turned out that only 3 percent of the graduates had written goals, 13 percent had goals that weren’t written down, and 84 percent had no specific goals at all.

Ten years later, these same students were studied. The researcher found that the students with goals, especially written goals, had far out-earned the students with no specific goals.

Align your time with your brand

When you have a personal brand, you’re naturally more efficient. You know your purpose and are able to focus on the important on-brand activities. You have an easier time identifying an off-brand activity and eliminating the clutter that keeps you from being on-brand.

By extension, a brand helps you plan your time because you can align your activities with your personal brand strategy and your communication plan. You learn to purge what no longer supports your unique promise of value. Aligning your time with your brand frees you from the things that you no longer want (or need) to do.

Keep up with technology

This point is crucial: If you’re computer illiterate, you’re going to have a very tough time building a brand. You don’t need to be a technical wizard to build and keep your brand, but you do need to know enough to hire the right people to help you communicate your brand online.

Working online can feel overwhelming if you haven’t ventured into this world before, but have no fear: Many people make it their business to help you build your business online.

Nurture your network

You won’t keep your network for long if you ignore them. Remember these tips to nurture your network:

  • Make an effort to stay in touch by sending personal e-mails, going for coffee together, or speaking on the phone.

  • Connect your contacts by sharing your connections with other people.

  • Ask how you can help or be of service to your network contact.

  • Let your network know about a valuable resource.

  • Invite people in your network to attend events with you.

  • Build your network by attending social events.

  • Update your social media sites by staying current with posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.

  • Send an online newsletter.

Emit confidence

The Confidence Emitter is a brand persona on the 360┬░Reach assessment (Reach Communications). A Confidence Emitter is comfortable in his own shoes and is self-assured. This person exudes confidence and gains the respect of those around him just from the way he exists in the world. He’s happy with who he is and shows a great deal of self-awareness.

Ultimately, having a strong personal brand is hard unless you’re a Confidence Emitter. Strong brands require a keen self-awareness. You need to be able to identify what is working and what needs improvement. You must also accept who you are. You, too, can be a Confidence Emitter and let the world know just how much you have to offer with your unique personal brand.