Within the last week I have had at least five people post on my social media accounts about glitter. Why? It is a strong component of my brand, and who I am. People, even those who have never met me, associate my with those glittery bits that you see everywhere!
What makes you special? What sets you apart? What do people instantly think of when they hear your name? This is what your personal brand is made of. Here are some ways that you can develop and strengthen that brand.
First, you need to figure out what people think of you. You most likely already have a personal brand, even if you have done absolutely nothing to build it. Your brand comes from how other people perceive you. A great way to do this, is to poll your network. Ask people what three words come to mind when they think of you. Once you have a list of these words, paying close attention to the duplicate answers, put them into a word cloud generator. (I like wordart.com) Here is mine (see attachment for image)
The most used word for me is glitter! This is based off of a former boss telling a group of people, “she is so engaging, caring, and energetic that is just seems like she sneezes glitter!” It stuck! It even became the theme of my TedTalk. This alone proved to me how powerful personal branding can be.
Next, you should consider what makes you unique! My list has lots of positive words, but those words can describe pretty much anyone. It is that glitter element that really sets me apart. You also need to focus on that “thing” that makes you different. That element that is going to make people think of you when they want to hire someone!
Branding expert Sally Hogshead says, “different is better than better.” Setting yourself apart will do more for your career than getting incrementally better at your job. Your job title is not what people remember about you. If you want to stand out, you need to share what makes you memorable, it is those connection points that will make you, and your brand, memorable.
Finally, share your knowledge, and be willing to mentor others. You are the designer of your own brand. If you want people to view you in a certain way, you are able to influence this with your actions. If you are not known for something that you feel you should be- start talking about it! Share about it on social media and with colleagues. They will soon associate you with that topic or thing .
Another part of the credibility strategy is to find others to mentor. Do not wait for them to come to you- seek these individuals out. And know that mentoring is as beneficial to you as it is to your mentees!
Know that your personal brand is ever changing! It is a reflection of who you are, and as you grow and evolve so will your brand. Building your brand takes time and involvement. Start working on being noticed and recognized for what makes you unique, and become the person that everyone will want to connect with because of it.