Guest Post: How to Build Your Signature Personal Brand by Salma Shah
Go on and admit it. You have, at least once, googled someone before you met them for the first time.
We are all forming opinions of each other, all the time. It's human nature.
Most of us would agree it's a good idea to make the best first impression with a potential client or employer. Like putting on clothes and brush your teeth before going to meet them. The same is true for how you present yourself and your work online.
Are you showing your potential clients, employers, employees or collaborators the best of you? Both when they google you and when they meet you in person?
This is your personal brand.
Although the term, personal branding, personally makes me feel a little cheesy and American, the reality is that it has the power to either help you or hinder you.
So, to help us start creating a personal brand, who else to invite to write a Guest Post than a Personal Brand Strategist! Salma Shah helps women build a powerful and authentic personal brand and joins us to share her tips for creating a powerful and authentic personal brand.
Why you need a brand?
Today’s fast-paced working world highlights the importance of self-promotion, and we all want to be remembered for the right reasons.
Very few people now have 'jobs for life’, with an increasing number wanting portfolio careers, and that requires frequent job changes and a network of contacts. If you’re aiming for a promotion or dream of starting your own business, then talent alone might not be enough.
A strong personal brand will put you in a great position before, during and after change to ensure things go your way. It will create trust within your industry and draw others to you as new opportunities become available. Understanding the benefits is a key, if obvious, first step to building your brand.
What are your brand values?
Your values are signposts of what is deeply important to you, they’re the driving force behind the choices you make and how you live your life.
An authentic brand will align with your core values, so you’ll firstly need to identify what it is that’s important to you and how to promote this within your career. For example, if ‘creativity’ is important, you need to find a way of expressing this – if, say, your job is more analytical than creative, you can still express this value in a variety of ways, from your presentation style to the way you dress.
It’s the little touches that will ultimately build your brand values. Ideally, to be fulfilled in your career, your personal values need to be congruent with the culture in which you work.
Those with a strong brand who are clear about their personal values can make intentional choices to work in compatible cultures.
How will you be different?
For a distinctive brand, focus on what makes you unique.
It’s the combination of skills, hobbies, values, experiences, passions and the image you project that will set you apart.
According to David Ogilvy, in his book Confessions of an Advertising Man, “it’s the total personality of the brand rather than any trivial product difference which decides its position in the market place”.
Get clear on your audience
Be clear on your current and future audience and position your brand accordingly.
Where will they see, hear and read about you?
Being authentic means that you’re unlikely to appeal to everyone, but don’t be worried about alienating people, a strong brand will attract you to the right individuals.
Look, behave and sound the part
There is nothing trivial about missing out on opportunities because your image is letting you down or you sound unsure of yourself – your voice accounts for 38% of the impression you make on people.
Ask yourself how you want to sound…powerful, engaging, confident?
Your appearance, personal style and how you behave should all project your brand values.
Create brand stories
Your brand stories are the anecdotes you share to tell others more about you. A strong brand story will speak to the feelings of your audience, creating an emotional rapport and trust.
You needn’t memorise a list of anecdotes you must fit in at networking events, but be aware of the stories you are telling and how you are engaging with others.
Use social media
Social media is a quick and effective tool for building your personal brand – both its reputation and its reach. Blogging, YouTube and LinkedIn are all powerful channels for building your brand, but it is virtually impossible to be on every platform and do it well.
Instead, choose a maximum of three channels that are ideal for reaching your current and future audience and where you can be consistent and present.
Put some thought and planning into it, LinkedIn is the place for your professional brand, while Instagram and Pinterest allow the opportunity to present your brand values visually. Be mindful about how you engage with social media, and remember to blend your private and professional life with care and intention.
Salma offers a free 5 day personal brand challenge. If you'd like to take part, start building your Signature Personal Brand today https://salmashah.leadpages.co/5-day-personal-brand-challenge/