It is often said that the manner in which we conduct ourselves will ultimately determine how we are perceived by others. It’s this very perception that may have an impact on one’s personal brand, as well as their professional profile.
So, what is personal branding?
Wikipedia defines personal branding as “the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands… Personal branding is essentially the ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual, group, or organisation.”
When I think of personal branding, I ask myself: What do I wish for people to associate me with when they think of my name? The same applies in a professional setting.
It’s only when we understand how we want to be perceived, that we are able to be much more strategic about our personal branding.
It is important to note that your brand already exists – whether you have consciously cultivated it or not.
Personal Branding expert and author, Timothy Maurice Webster, offers the following advice on personal branding:
You are the architect of your personal brand
It’s important to take charge of how you want to be perceived.
Timothy writes, “The question you should be asking yourself is not whether or not you are a brand. The more appropriate question should be: How significant is my presence in the most valuable real estate in the world – in the minds of my stakeholders?”
Timothy goes on to say that this can be achieved by adequately introducing yourself and brand to others; by communicating a consistent message about yourself, and forming relationships that are in line with who you are, as well as using “personal branding portals” like Facebook, Twitter etc.
You are not the label that others assign to you
“At some point in each of our histories we must ask ourselves if we are the labels assigned to us. And if we are not, then we must work to peel off our labels and apply new ones that reflect who we are and who we aspire to be – we must embark on a journey to re-define our brands; to re-brand ourselves”, says Timothy.
Timothy gives an example of Nelson Mandela, and says the icon was not afraid to re-invent himself, going from a struggle hero to statesman and humanitarian.
It is also evident from Wikipedia’s definition above that this is an “ongoing process”. We are human, and building a strong personal brand may take a while for some. Be patient with yourself. Remain true to yourself and the rest will take care of itself.
I hope you have found this piece useful, and that I have encouraged you to reflect on brand You.
‘Til next time!