Branding. A term that's long been associated with companies. Not so much anymore. Today almost everyone has a personal brand. Despite being concerned with what others' think of us, not too many of us have consciously cultivated our own personal brands, but they exist nevertheless. A footprint exists in perpetuity in the sands of digital time and space crowd sourced by everyone you know be they friends, colleagues, or bosses. In case you aren't up on the hype, in the lands of the internet, a digital footprint is used to describe the trail, traces or footprints that people leave online. So, hold onto your socks when you read this little tidbit. In 2014, an AVG study reported that 92 percent of children under the age of two have a digital footprint.
The question isn't whether or not you have a personal brand, but how you choose to cultivate it. Do you choose to be defined by what you may have put out on the internet or social media at some point in your life when you weren't thinking of what it would look like years later?
Here are a few ways to start consciously building your own personal brand.
Start thinking of yourself as a brand
What do you want for people to think of when they hear or read your name? Is there a certain topic, effort, or category in which you want to be perceived as an expert? Are there character or personal qualities you want others to connect to your brand? When you have an idea about how you wish your brand to be perceived, you can start to be much more strategic about creating that persona. This doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn't be human, fallible or relaxed, on the contrary. Michael Simmons wrote, "Authenticity is key in the digital age." Your brand is valued at some extremely high ROI no matter where you view it from.
Keep a keen eye on your online presence
You can’t mold others' ideas of you without first understanding the current status. Remember, perception is reality to others. Google yourself and set up alerts for your own name on a regular basis. If your name is somewhat common, use your middle name or middle initial to differentiate your search. Cultivating a healthy personal brand is just as much about being responsive to what is being said now as it is about creating new discussions yet to be had.
Get your own personal website
Having a personal website is one of the best ways to rank for your name on the search engines. Ensure that when your name is typed into search engines, your website comes up first in the results. Your website doesn’t need to be filled with dynamic content that you need to manage every day. It can be a simple two-to three-page site with a short biography and some links to your most active social platforms. When you have time, add elements to it and perhaps a blog.
Have a purpose for what you share with others
Every tweet, every status update, and every picture you share contributes to your digital footprint. Your personal brand is like a poetic fusion of your multiple daily actions. Once you understand how you want to be perceived, you can get a whole lot more strategic in your messaging and positioning.
Associate with other strong brands
Your personal brand is strengthened or weakened by your connection to other brands. Find and leverage strong brands which can elevate your own personal brand. Start with the three C’s: company, college, colleagues. Where did you attend college? Are there groups or associations you can join? How about an alumni newsletter you can contribute to? Find hidden opportunities available within your company and organizations you are involved in. Contribute. Contribute. Contribute. No ruts for you
A strong personal brand is dependent on a strong narrative. In other words, what’s your story? Find your theme song. Reinvent yourself. If you have multiple passions or areas of interest, a narrative becomes even more crucial so there can be unified theme. But like in life, the only thing that stays consistent is change, so a strong personal brand should be ubiquitous and ever evolving. If you're interested in kicking around more ideas about how to build your personal brand, contact Freakin' Genius Marketing for a consult.
Freakin' Genius Marketing
Sunday, December 13, 2015
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