The conversation on branding has evolved over time. Branding is not just exclusive to products, services, and companies anymore. Now, it encompasses personal brands, corporate brands, online branding, offline branding, and many more.
With the rise of social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, a particular type of branding has grown in prominence and significance: Personal Branding. Instagram influencers are the best successful example of such personal branding.
Who can have a personal brand?
So, what are personal brands and personal branding?? Believe it or not, Instagram influencers are not the only ones who have a brand. In fact, we all have a personal brand. Among our friends, colleagues, family, and even exes, we have a brand. How a particular group of people views or perceives us is our brand. We have to understand that our brand is our reputation. Personal branding is how your reputation, and by extension your personal brand, can be managed, shaped, and influenced in order to develop a personal asset that you can then use to shape perceptions and create opportunities.
Creating a personal brand is not about becoming famous or amassing a large following on social media. It’s about taking control of how you want to be perceived by others, differentiating yourself from the crowd, and becoming known for something specific. Essentially, personal branding is about showcasing and telling people who you are, what you stand you stand for, and why they should choose you over your competitors.
Why is personal branding important?
Each generation brings with it a change in perception and mindset, which in turn changes how your brand is perceived. This is why personal branding is so important in the world today.
“Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room”
Your personal brand exists whether you like it or not, or even if you are aware of it or not. 70% of employers today screen their employee’s social media during the hiring process and 43% use social media platforms to check on their current employees. Personal branding allows you to influence or shape that perception in a way that works favorably for you or your business.
In the world today, people have become very skeptical of advertisements and marketing strategies. They don’t easily believe any form of advertising or promotional material or content. 84% of Millennials trust neither advertisements nor the brands that create them. However, they are oddly trusting of people who advertise certain brands, products, or services, even if they are supplied by a brand that they don’t like.
This is the very crux of influencer marketing and a practical working example of how personal branding can influence the market today. This has brought a change and a major rethink in how businesses market themselves, creating a whole world of opportunities for you to develop a personal brand and open new doors for yourself.
Express Benefits of Having a Personal Brand
Here are a few express benefits of developing your personal brand:
- Builds credibility, trust, and relatability: Personal branding requires you to be authentic and transparent about who you are, what you do, and what you stand for. This builds trust and relatability with your audience, which is essential if you want to convert them into customers or clients.
- Increases your online presence: A personal brand will require you to maintain a larger and longer online presence. This will go a long way in extending your reach. This will enable you to attract new leads and help you grow your business. People are more likely to do business with someone they know, like, and trust – and a strong personal brand will help you build that relationship with your target audience.
- You can leverage your personal brand to promote your business or you can leverage your network: In order to build a strong personal brand, you will need to have a large and engaged network. This network can be leveraged to promote your business or products/services.
- A personal brand will make you more memorable: If you want to stand out from the competition, you need to be memorable. A personal brand will help you do just that.
- Helps you take advantage of relationships: what is seen as a competitor in business is now seen as a peer you can potentially collaborate with in personal branding.
Now that you know the benefits of personal branding, let’s take a look at how you can create a strong personal brand in 2022.
How do you create your personal brand?
You cannot create your personal brand because it already exists in some form or the other as a result of all the relationships in your life. What you can do is learn how to develop and nurture this personal brand into an asset that is valuable and which will facilitate your success.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to develop your personal brand:
Source: Yorba Lin
Step 1: Determine your goals:
It does not matter who you are or what phase of life you are in—be it a businessman at the age of 50 or a young working professional in their early 20s—if you have decided to develop your personal brand, then you need to have some goals. You need to determine what you are trying to achieve and how you are trying to achieve it. Once you have clarity on what you are trying to achieve, it will help facilitate the development of your brand.
You can modify these goals at any time or chalk out new goals. That is the beauty of your personal brand as it can be as flexible as you want.
Step 2: Uncover your audience:
Who are you trying to target with your brand? This is an important question that you need to answer. You need to determine who your audience is and what needs or wants they have. Essentially, you are trying to determine who you can help, who you can add value to, or who will potentially resonate with your message.
Then, you can start to zero in on this audience and identify how exactly you can help them or how receptive they will be to what you want to say. Once you know your audience, you can start to craft messages that will resonate with them.
Step 3: Analyze your peers:
This is where there is a key difference with business branding. In personal branding, you are not exactly competing with your peers or would-be competitors. You are not vying for a specific target audience, where you are trying to aim for exclusivity.
Personal branding is all about relationships and sharing and that is how you can facilitate the growth of your personal brand. If you can maintain relationships of any kind with your peers then you can aid the growth and influence of your personal brand.
An age-old adage seemingly applies here: ” Your friends are my friends”. Facilitating it the right way allows you to benefit from your relationships with your peers and their influence.
Step 4: Define your difference:
Again, unlike business branding, you are not looking to completely separate yourself from your competing market. However, you do need to communicate to people why they should listen to you or view your content. You are not necessarily aiming to promote your content over others, but you are telling people that you are worth listening to as well.
A key aspect here is to discover your niche. In fact, a niche within a niche will be even more beneficial. In other words, the more specialized you are, the more focused your branding strategy can be and the better you can reach your target audience.
So, the best way is to identify a specific target area you can focus on. Design your content and develop the attributes you need to best deliver your content to your target audience.
Step 5: Work toward being your most authentic self
Authenticity is key in personal branding. It is the most essential attribute that will allow you to differentiate yourself in the market. People today hate fakes, hypocrites, and phonies. You need to take time to develop your personality and develop your unique voice. This means that you need to find your own perspective and unique voice within your marketplace.
People relate to other people because of who they are. The key here is becoming more comfortable with yourself. This will allow you to create and then deliver content in the most authentic way possible. Understandably, it will take time and that is okay. Finding the right balance of authenticity for your personal brand so that your audience can relate to who you are and be engaged with your content.
Step 6: Give value:
This is the substance behind your personal brand. It is what you do for others, not what they can do for you. This is all about delivering content and value to your audience without expecting anything in return. Of course, you can (and should) ask for things like shares and comments, but don’t make these the primary focus. Instead, focus on giving value first and build a relationship of trust with your audience.
Step 7: Collaborate with your peers
There is no need to go it alone when building your personal brand. Find other like-minded individuals in your niche and collaborate with them on projects, guest posts, or even just social media interactions. The more people you interact with, the more likely you are to get noticed- and make a positive impression.
Not only will collaborating with others help you gain more exposure, but it will also help you develop new skills and ideas, as well as forge new relationships. All of these things will contribute to making your personal brand more successful.
So there you have it- a guide to personal branding in 2022.
Tips to build your personal brand:
Here are some tips to keep in mind while you plan your branding strategy:
Nurture and harness your personality:
In personal branding, you are your best communication tool and your ace in the hole. Your personality is what will set you apart. Maximize all the facets of your personality to best create and deliver your content.
For example, if you are a people person, use that to your advantage. If you’re more introverted, find creative ways to get your message across without feeling like you’re “selling yourself.”
Additionally, you should be deeply intimate with your strengths and weaknesses, and use that knowledge to build a personal brand strategy that works for you.
Get creative and consistent with your content:
One way to stand out from the crowd is to get creative with the content you’re putting out there, and making sure that your message is consistent across all channels. This means having a clear vision for what you want your brand to be and then sticking to it.
If you’re not a natural-born writer, try using visuals or audio to get your message across. And don’t be afraid to experiment – the only way to find out what works is to try something new.
Also, personal branding is all about creating a positive image for yourself. You want to be known as an expert in your field, and someone who is worth listening to. This means creating content that is both inspiring and informative.
Don’t be afraid to show your vulnerability:
In a world where we are constantly bombarded with content, it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we need to be perfect. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, people are far more likely to engage with content that is relatable and authentic.
So don’t be afraid to show your vulnerability. Share your struggles and your successes. Be real, and people will respond.
Choose the right social media platform:
Not all social media platforms are created equal. Some are better for certain purposes than others. Do your research to find the right platform for you and your brand.
Once you find the right audience and the right platform to best develop and share your content, don’t forget to engage with your audience. Personal branding is all about building relationships. The more you engage with your audience, the stronger those relationships will be.
Provide value at every opportunity and never share without a purpose:
The most successful personal brands are those that provide value at every opportunity. Whether it’s through content, conversation, or connection, make sure you’re always giving more than you’re taking. Take advantage of social events, major discoveries, or chances to deliver an opposing opinion. Additionally, always make sure that what you are sharing has a purpose. This is to keep your audience always engaged. This toes into being consistent and providing value.
Prominent examples of Personal Brands
The world-renowned talk show host and philanthropist loves to share her wisdom with others. This has allowed to influence and connect with audiences worldwide. This in turn has built her brand equity, measuring at an estimated net worth of $2.5 billion.
The tech mogul is known for constantly innovating and taking risks. He isn’t afraid to share his thoughts on the future of technology, which has gained him a following of over 32 million people. This has helped him build his many businesses, including Tesla and SpaceX.
The business magnate is known for his outgoing personality and his willingness to try new things. He has used this to build his Virgin Group, which includes over 400 companies.
The serial entrepreneur is known for his social media expertise and his no-holds-barred approach to business. This has helped him amass a hige following and build VaynerMedia, a social media-focused marketing agency.
Personal branding today is so widespread that some employers are now more interested in a candidate’s social media presence than their resume. Many young people understand the power of personal branding and are using it to their advantage. The same way, consumers will have an easier time trusting a product or service from someone who has a strong personal brand because they have build up a trust and relationship with that person, making it far more easier to sell a product or service.
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to personal branding, but if you want to be successful in 2022, these tips should help get you started. Always remember to provide value, be consistent, and stay engaged with your audience. With a little bit of effort, you can create a strong personal brand that will help you achieve your goals.
As a branding agency ourselves, Pixelstreet has years of experience helping clients create and build strong personal brands. If you’re looking for help getting started, feel free to reach out to us for a consultation.