Tips to build and grow a personal brand
Before we jump into the how to(s) of growing and expanding a personal brand it makes sense to first state what it is. Quite similar to a corporate brand a personal brand also has a disposition and temperament, your disposition and temperament that is. A personal brand reflects what you as an individual stand for, believe, and profess. A personal brand is best understood as an extension of the individual in question. It serves the same purpose as a corporate brand, to communicate to your audience your unique traits, strengths, convictions, and of course abilities. Personal branding is one’s story.
Now that we are aware of what a personal brand is, let’s illustrate how to build and grow it further:
Ascertain who you are:
A precursor to projecting yourself is of course knowing who you are, what you can offer, what your abilities are, and what your convictions are. In order to accurately portray yourself to a relevant audience you need to know exactly you are and also what aspects to portray. This step requires some introspection and a possible SWOT analysis. It could be advantageous to be aware of what kind of work you perform well in, what motivation propels you in that particular direction, what roles you don’t perform well in, and what you derive joy from.
These might not seem like an important step in the initial stages but serve well when planning for the long term and formulating an accurate game plan to reach the desired end.
Establish what exactly you want to focus on:
It is important to dictate precisely and without ambiguity the kind of work you want to focus on and improve in. This helps develop reliability and skill in the chosen sector, and will also accelerate relevant networking in the industry.
Identify your target audience:
Identifying your target audience is one of the most important things that needs to be done in this entire process. All interactions, exchanges, and collaborations are two way streets that involve multiple parties, in such situations it is of utmost importance to be aware of the kind of people you want to interact with and then gear your work in a way that is palatable to them.
The earlier you are able to define your audience demographic the more effective your communication and interaction will be, not to mention the sooner you will reach your desired end goals.
Research your chosen industry and shadow the people on the top:
It goes without saying that it is extremely advantageous to do your research before hand and go in prepared and aware, this helps you anticipate issues before hand and also helps you learn from prior mistakes committed by other people. Shadowing people on the top and learning from them is also a good idea when you are just starting out, given that they have more experience in the field than you do. After All they are on the top for a reason.
It is also important to mention here that shadowing experts doesn’t mean you have to dispose of your unique individuality, discretion must be applied and learning must be done without your own individuality getting eroded.
Seek out interviews:
When you are starting out, one of the most essential things to be done is to seek out interaction, communication, and interviews from anyone relevant. It might seem like a daunting task at first, but will prove advantageous over time. This will lead you to gauge what you yourself want and also do not want. Moreover, it also boosts your network while equipping you with fresh insight simultaneously. Some questions you might consider asking are: How someone broke into the industry, what it’s biggest challenges are, do they see it evolving, and if so how?
Always be ready with an elevator pitch:
Once you have successfully conceptualized your personal brand, spend some time and craft an effective elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is essentially a 30 seconds to 60 seconds story illustrating who you are and what you aspire to do. These are meant to be made use of at networking parties and informal gatherings.
After all you never know when and where you might meet a person of importance.
Grow your online presence:
With most things digital it goes without saying that having an engaging online presence is of paramount importance. This widens the pool of your audience significantly and more importantly builds reliability and reachability. You can do so using multiple platforms such as linkedin, twitter, or even instagram, wherever your target audience is. You can supplement this by having your very own website or portfolio that allows people to browse through your body of work.
On a concluding note, it is important to note that these things do help in furthering a personal brand and like all other things must be reinvented appropriately when the time comes.