When you hear the word branding, you often think of companies. That said, individuals have a brand too. Everyone has their own personal brand — whether they know it or not.
Most people don’t even try to build a brand, yet, they somehow grow around you. We all have a digital footprint. In fact, studies show that 92% of children under the age of 2 already have a digital footprint.
The question isn’t whether or not you have a brand, it’s whether or not you want to define what it is before someone else does. What do you want people to think of when they hear your name? Is there a certain industry that you’re very knowledgeable about, or are you a jack of all trades?
Before you can tell people what your brand is, you need to figure it out for yourself. Once you have a clear idea of what you want your brand to look like, it’ll become a lot easier for you to get people onboard.
When you’re determining what your brand is, it’s important to be honest with yourself. You have to be honest and let your brand reflect who you are — flaws and all.
Branding isn’t just important for an entrepreneur who owns a business, even freelancers and employees can benefit greatly by getting their name out there.
For instance, if you’re applying for a job at a prestigious company, you’re more likely to be chosen if the unlucky soul who’s going through the sea of resumes recognizes your name.
Your brand will determine how potential employers, clients, and customers see you and is often the determining factor in the development of your career.
Don’t focus on arbitrary metrics
In the world of branding, many have tried and failed. The most common rookie mistake that most people make is focusing on useless measures of success such as Facebook likes, Twitter followers, and the like. These metrics hardly mean anything to anyone and mean even less to the development of your brand.
What really matters is value. In order to succeed, you need to provide so much value to your customers that you become a household name.
People need to think of you whenever they look at the industry you’re in. When people think about smartphones, they think of Steve Jobs. The same goes for Zuckerberg and social media. Don’t just succeed in your chosen industry, become the face of it.
Find something you’re good at
All the branding in the world can’t help you if you’re doing something that you genuinely suck at. Sure, practice makes perfect, but there are just some things that we can’t do. It’s a harsh reality but you won’t get anywhere if you sugarcoat the facts.
Forcing yourself to do something that is beyond your capabilities will only lead to personal frustration and disappointed customers.
Once you’ve found something you’re good at, take a second to make sure you enjoy doing it. You don’t have to be ecstatic about it, but working in an industry that bores you to death won’t end well.
Furthermore, don’t do things that you both hate and suck at. You’ll do an awful job, hate every moment of it, and be too demotivated to improve your skills.
When you find that perfect line of work, commit every waking moment to honing your skills. Remember, there are millions — maybe billions — of people who do the same thing you do.
Superior skills and outside-the-box thinking will help you stand out in a world crowded by professionals. This isn’t really about competition — although, competitiveness is a good motivator when it comes to perfecting your craft — it’s more about being the best version of yourself that you can be and providing stellar service to those who keep your electricity on.
Choose your platform
Now that you know exactly what you want your brand to become, you’ll need to choose a platform or two to market it on. Rather than shelling out cash for an expensive website and increasing your monthly overhead, start simple by utilizing social media.
Facebook pages and Twitter accounts are good ways to get your name out there during the early stages of your branding campaign when funding is scarce. Post relevant and useful content, engage with your followers by replying to comments and messages, and speak in a human tone — no one enjoys talking to someone who converses like a robot.
Leverage more established brands
Let’s face it, you’re practically a baby in the world of branding. The best way to learn and get noticed is by collaborating with better-established brands such as willshapools.com and leveraging their popularity. Of course, going up to random CEOs and asking them if they wanna partner with you wouldn’t go very well.
The easiest way to find brands that you can partner with is by getting in contact with old friends, classmates, or even co-workers who now own a well-known company. You could write a guest post on their company blog, integrate your software on their site, or improve their UX free-of-charge. Anything that will get you more exposure from their audience is worthwhile.
Set your goals
You can’t be sure of foot if you don’t even know where you’re going. Start by setting specific goals — both personal, and professional. Once you have a clear picture of where you want to be within a certain amount of time, it’ll be easier for you to plan the path towards that end-result.
Identifying your short-term and long-term goals will help you decide what you should spend most of your time on, as well as making other important decisions that could make or break your brand. Your priorities work like a mental compass that’ll steer you towards success.
Sell your products and services
All the time you’ve spent on branding is completely useless if you just order products from AliExpress and outsource projects to UpWork. Your personal brand represents who you are as a professional individual, don’t let your reputation be tainted by the mistakes of others. You’re marketing your skills, so sell your own products and services, not someone else’s.
The bottom line
Building a personal brand takes a huge amount of time and effort, but in the end, it’s worth it. Your brand is something that no one can take away from you. It shows who you are and what you stand for. A true brand is dynamic and ever-present. So tell us, who are you?