Personal branding is largely considered the domain of aspiring influencers or social media personalities, but that doesn’t mean that we regular citizens should disregard personal branding as unnecessary. Personal branding is all about finding out what you believe in and stand for as an individual. Your personal branding is ultimately a culmination of you and what makes you, well… you.
Where does personal branding begin?
Realistically, in the 21st century, branding begins almost from the time you are born, with your parents posting pictures of you throughout your childhood, which starts to set the scene for the person you are likely to become. However, you really start to showcase your own branding once you arrive at university. People may argue that high school is where the tone is set but throughout those formative years you are still in highly controlled environments, it is at university that you really get to explore who you are as an independent person and start building your personal brand. University is truly a time when an individual is able to really define their core values and ascertain what is actually important to them.
Importance of personal branding
As mentioned above, personal branding is not just for social media presence, all individuals require a personal brand for everyday life. Of course, social media plays a part in a large portion of society’s daily lives, in this age even applying for a position is likely to lead to an employer checking you out on social media. LinkedIn is a large social media platform in relation to employment and an excellent way to brand yourself.
The importance of putting a personal brand out there includes areas such as transparency, this allows people to feel comfortable as they can clearly see who you are and what you are about. This in turn allows trust to be built and makes your target audience believe more in the intentions you are putting out there. Networking is another important aspect, helping you build connections with like-minded individuals. Finally, authenticity showcases what you believe initially moving into something that you live day-to-day making you stand out from the crowd.
Social media branding
In the ever-shifting world that we live in it is increasingly necessary to stand out from all the others applying for that dream job. It is fine to go through a few different thought processes before really settling on the voice that you want the world to see. Focus on projecting what you want your key message to be. As an example, Australia’s current number one Instagram influencer Kayla Itsines is a well-known fitness blogger with 10.2 million followers reading and seeing her every word.
Kayla’s success is based on not just having a clear focus but also providing genuine information that is authentic to her. Kayla, like many other influencers, is representing her personal brand and telling her followers her story. Crafting a narrative that is true to herself and what she believes in is attractive to people as it makes them feel included in her life and her brand.
Failure can be key
With every person that succeeds in getting their personal brand out there, there is nearly always a background story of trying and failing numerous times first. Failure is a necessary part of the human experience and whilst we would all like to avoid it, it tends to make us a better person in the long run. It can teach many important lessons including humility, and also allows your audience to see you are also only human but capable of turning challenges around. Consistency when branding yourself will more likely get you noticed, rather than having a split focus and trying to promote too many things at once. Keep your brand constant and people will start to remember you, what looked like failure, to begin with, is now something people will remember.
Set and reach goals.
The simple fact is that if you align your personal brand with your goals you will be more likely to reach them whether this is becoming the next social media influencer or simply getting that job in the industry you have always wanted. If getting that role at a specific company is your focus then your personal branding should clearly reflect their vision, value and company mission. If your goal is to become that next social media influencer your personal branding should be attractive to the audience that you are trying to influence.
An example is if you are aiming to be a fitness influencer like Kayla Itsines then all your media content should be directed to fitness goals and building networking through other fitness influencers not showing your downtime reading a book or sitting in a park as this doesn’t reflect what you are trying to say.
The art of advertising yourself will continue to change as the world itself continues to change. The best way to stay ahead of the trends is starting to personally brand yourself from a young age and one of the best times of your life to really find yourself is university. A time to both find yourself, your passions and start branding yourself from there.