It can be easy for small business owners to focus solely on their company’s branding and assume that their personal branding is not important. The truth is that your personal brand matters a great deal. It is through your personal brand that you illustrate your goals, interests and overarching values. You bring your personal brand with you everywhere you go! You showcase your personal branding every day when you work with colleagues, clients and friends. Though personal brand development sounds like a daunting task, you can begin to build your personal brand today by taking small steps. Here are a few strategies to help you get started:
First, you can integrate your personal brand into your daily life by identifying and understanding your value system. What about your perspective or expertise makes you unique? What are the core values that guide your work? Are you creative, reliable or detail-oriented? You can highlight your uniqueness and core values through the way that you express your brand. If your brand is that you pay close attention to detail for your clients, for example, then you can show off your conscientiousness in the particular way you dress. A colorful tailored suit or blazer can add a finishing touch to a simple t-shirt and a pair of jeans for a creative professional. Or, if your focus is on your work, you can manage your branding by keeping all of your outfits simple; think of Mark Zuckerberg’s simple t-shirt and jeans.
Second, you can communicate your personal brand through the language you use. One tactic is to monitor the way that you present yourself in public. Be cautious about the way that you communicate with others. If your core value system is that you are thoughtful and professional, then it makes sense that you will monitor the language you use with colleagues and clients. However, if your core value is that you are an honest, shoot-from-the-hip expert, then it may help your brand to use curse words and speak off the cuff occasionally.
Third, you should be prepared to discuss your personal branding at all times. Before attending a conference or meeting, you should decide ahead of time what you want to achieve at the event. This includes deciding beforehand which attendees you want to meet at the event. You should also come prepared to distribute your own business cards. Your cards should contain your contact information, website and personal brand statement (i.e., “Real Estate Entrepreneur”).
At Assist on the Run, I enjoy helping business leaders to define both their business branding and their own personal branding. How do you show your personal brand every day? Let me know in the comments below or tell me at @AssistOnTheRun or on Facebook!