What is a Personal Brand and does it mean we have to be perfect and lose our authenticity?
I love the quote:
“To thy own self be true!”
I believe that this should remain core to developing a personal brand. What do you think?
Personal Branding is becoming an increasingly important part of building and growing a business and how we choose to present ourselves to the world can have negative or positive consequences for our lives. Whether we like it or not, if we use Social Media, we’ve already created a Personal Brand that will be accessible in some form or another, across the internet, for all the world to see! The question is:
Is your current brand working for you or against you?
The important thing to remember, is that when it comes to what we reveal about ourselves, we definitely have choices to make. We can just post anything and everything randomly, without any thought, which is probably what the vast majority of people do or we can be pro-active and decide what we will post and how we will post it, across all of our social media.
A personal brand is how we choose to present ourselves to the world.
3 billion people are now connected to Facebook and many of us will have posted pictures, stories and information about ourselves, which enables somebody we’ve never met to have a look and form an impression of who we are. We have a choice about what we tell the world about ourselves. I suspect the vast majority of people just ‘post’ without thought (as I certainly have in the past) but this does have it’s risks…
- Increasingly companies are monitoring social media, to determine whether to employ someone or not – would you employ someone who’s posted derogatory comments about their employer or who’s photographs show them getting very drunk and falling over every weekend?
- What you did when you were 18, may still haunt you when your 28. I’m glad that some of my experiences age 18 aren’t available to access on the web today!
Deciding what you want people to see doesn’t mean you can’t still get drunk (if that’s what you enjoy), it means that you’re taking control and making conscious decisions about what you want the world to see about you.
When I first started my blog 18 months ago, I hadn’t really got a clue about why I was doing it and what my aim was. Over the first year of blogging, I blogged about anything and everything as the mood took me, which was probably what I needed to do as a ‘rookie blogger’. I needed to find my feet, develop my blogging confidence and recognise what I enjoy writing about and importantly, what people are interested in reading. However, I was probably more thoughtful about what I put on my blog than I was about what I posted on Facebook!
In life I’m a “What you see is what you get” person and I’ve tried to continue this ‘ethos’ with my blog. However, I realised, that to achieve my business goals, I needed to re-look at how I present myself to the World and be clearer and more focussed about what I’m aiming to achieve, whilst still reflecting my values and beliefs and showing the real me.
Do you ever feel that you’re lacking clarity and focus about where your going in life and therefore you’re just drifting along and constantly shifting direction depending on which way the wind is blowing?
That’s how I felt about my ‘blogging’. I’d achieved my goal of creating a blog, but initially it was directionless. It meandered here there and everywhere without any clear focus.
Earlier this year I decided to move to a self hosted blog, which was quite a ‘leap’ from my reliance on WordPress. I decided it was time to ‘get serious’ and start to become a bit more focussed in the topics I write and post about so that people could clearly see what my blog is about. You may have noticed the changes.
How I’m Starting To Create My Personal Brand Consciously
- I re-looked at my blog posts and decided on the direction I want to move forward with – my niche
- The obvious choice was Personal Development – it’s been my passion for years and I’ve developed my expertise through managing large teams of people in business and working as a hypnotherapist for over 17 years
- Whilst I focus my posts predominantly around personal development, I still include some posts about other things too, but these are less frequent. For me, it feels authentic to still reveal some of my other interests when the mood takes me.
- I researched other people’s blogs and noticed that I was drawn to the blogs that had a consistent ‘style’ and I played around for a little while to come up with my style.
- I’m sure professional branders may tell me that I should have a professional logo etc. and maybe they’d be right.. I’m still thinking about this but if I want to be taken seriously in the business world, I may have to up my game and ‘go pro’.
- I’ve been gradually implementing changes to my blog and social media accounts, trying to give them a consistent appearance whether it’s my Blog, Facebook or Instagram account, they all have the same ‘logo’
- Even though this may still need to be professionalised, it’s already consistent.
- I’ve tried to develop a style for my blog etc. that makes me feel good when I look at it and feels unique. I noticed that quite a lot of blogs follow the same minimalistic format and I was tempted to go the same way. They do get the followers but somehow it didn’t feel like me, so for now I’ve stuck with my ‘look’… time will tell whether this is the right thing to do.
- I’ve started to create my own stationery which although has some variety, still picks up on the same colour scheme.
I’m clear about what my values are and I try to ensure that I live in alignment with these and that my social media presence also reflects these too. I suspect it won’t gain me the rapid growth of followers, but my personal brand, is definitely a reflection of me.
As the vast majority of us don’t currently give much, if any, thought to our ‘personal brand’, developing one could really help us to stand out from the crowd. In the words of Andy Harrington:
“Why fit in when you were born to stand out!”
Is my brand perfect? Definitely not! I’m still working on it and I suspect it will never be perfect, because – hey – I’m definitely not perfect either! My brand is still reflecting my imperfections but hopefully in a positive way!
I believe that our inner voice should be our ultimate guide. Asking ourselves whether what we ‘post’ is something we’d be happy for our families to read or see about us in a few years time and then listening to our inner voice, will help us to ensure that our personal brand is working for us and not against us!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this – Please leave me a comment!