When you think of a brand, you’re probably going to think about the corporations behind certain products. Of the image they attribute to those products and therefore themselves. It’s how they influence public perception and win people on their side. It’s not just for big businesses with big name products, however. A brand for yourself, for you as a person, can have huge effects whether you’re building a career or a business.
Identify a brand persona
Don’t get scared if you feel like you’re not a good ‘actor’. Creating a persona isn’t about selling half-truths. It’s about identifying your skills and your flaws. It’s about knowing how to present them to the specific audience you’re talking to. It’s about finding that version of you that hits straight to the core of what the market wants. It might be a certain writing style, it might incorporate visuals, it might be a certain ideal of yours that you wish to push. It’s not about changing who you are, but about honing the focus on what attributes and values you care about the most.
Build your platform
Naturally, a brand needs to be shared for it to have any real effect on perceptions. To that end, you need to learn some of the fundamentals of marketing; online marketing in particular. It’s about visibility and message. Building a website and getting on social media is a good start. But you need to make sure that your website is visible, so use search engine optimization tactics. For instance, if your brand is related to IT work, then ‘IT consultation’ and ‘tech expert’ could be some of the keywords you want to use to build your site. Meanwhile, your message is shaped by the content you put out there. A social media strategy, paired with writing informative blog posts that show that you know what you’re talking about, makes sure that your name is pinned to your content and benefits from the quality of it.
Put yourself out there
Even better for the visibility and validity of your brand is that other people are going to recognise it and share it. That’s one of the reasons you should be networking. Build positive relationships, use your platform to help other business owners and entrepreneurs. Their seal of approval and powers to boost your signal can add some real legitimacy to the brand.
A brand can undergo a lot of work to be shaped into the most positive and effective message, but that doesn’t mean it will always be that way. An easy way to watch it break down is to be inconsistent between your image and your deeds. If your brand is all about community and mutual benefit, for instance, you better make sure your business is good to customers. If sustainability is a big part of the brand, then you need to show green practices you take seriously. You can’t say one thing and do another.
Let your reputation precede you and make sure it’s a good one by spending time on your personal brand. After that, you have to make sure that your work speaks for yourself.
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