When most people hear the word ‘brand,’ they probably think of companies or products, such as Coca Cola or Toyota. And while that is correct, your personal brand is just as important to consider, especially when it comes to career opportunities. A personal brand boils down to what people think of when they think of you…
What are you known for?
What sets you apart?
What do you believe in?
Developing a personal brand can mean many different things, but ultimately, it’s all about establishing your reputation, crafting the story of you, and finding that specific space that only you can fill. Here are some helpful tips on ways to approach your personal brand, whether this concept is totally new to you or you’ve been cultivating your brand for years!
It can feel daunting to figure out how to approach a personal brand when starting out, but it ultimately comes down to getting across who you are and where you want to go. Pick topics and activities that interest you and would come naturally to you while also setting a goal that might be a little out of your comfort zone. This way, you’ll end up getting to your “destination” without making it too difficult or artificial.
For example, if you love ticket sales and are interested in working in or moving up in that field, there are plenty of ways to use your personal brand to help you open doors. Before connecting with industry veterans in those departments, you can begin participating in online chats, sharing interesting articles, commenting on other posts, and asking friends for connections. The hope is that you have already made somewhat of an impression and if they look at your social media or ask around about you, your interest would be evident.
The Big Four
A personal brand can include many different factors and elements, so one way to distill it down to the core is to think of your top four descriptive words. My good friend Tracie Hitz taught me this one and I absolutely love it! For example, mine are gregarious, collaborative, creative, and empathetic. While not all of these are strictly work related, they do reflect my overall personal brand, both in and out of the office. The true measure of this exercise is to speak with family members, friends, and coworkers to see which four words they would choose for you to find common themes. If there is a disparity between your words and what others say, that’s an opportunity to reframe your personal brand or make a tweak to how you’re viewing some of the qualities and make them work best for you.
Meet My Friend, Doron
One of the best exercises I’ve learned for personal branding is thinking of what your friend would say when introducing you to someone new. If they were standing next to someone you looked up to or were interested in working for and you walked over, what kind of introduction would they give? Would it include the important things you would want that person to know about you?
If you know the answer to this, you’re doing great - and if you don’t, that’s totally fine! Ask a friend to help you with this one and figure out the first few words that describe you from someone else’s perspective. Hopefully it aligns with your own self-view, but if there are some differences there, don’t worry, it just means there is an opportunity to update your narrative. Ultimately, you want others to know your basic elevator pitch and share it for you!
The Ultimate Hit-or-Miss: Social Media
One of the most discussed and contentious issues today is the use of social media. We’ve all seen the profiles that say “tweets are my own” and other disclaimers, and while it’s true that a social media profile is not a representation of your employer, it absolutely is a representation of you! Make sure your online persona is matching up to your in-person persona and is delivering the right message for you. It’s totally acceptable to share non-work things, content you’re passionate about, and personal photos, etc. on your profile. Just be mindful of who is potentially seeing it and keep in mind what you’d like for them to think when they do.
Social media is an amazing place to discover and share content and knowledge while interacting with people you might never have the chance to meet otherwise, so it should definitely be utilized, but in a thoughtful way. Do you want to be known as a good source of interesting info? Maybe you want to network with people you look up to and connect with peers by commenting on their posts? Whatever it is that you choose to do, it’s imperative that your profile and interactions leave a positive impression and help promote your personal brand for you.
Consistency is Key
The last point may be the most obvious but it’s also the most important, and that is to stay consistent. The easiest way to establish your personal brand is to have it be natural to you and to practice it in whatever setting you are. That way, it isn’t something that is a façade or difficult to maintain but is an extension of who you are. Whether you’re meeting with the team president or a new intern, you want the takeaway to be the same and to reflect the brand you’ve cultivated. When it comes to social media, make sure to keep your profiles updated and looking good, continue sharing great content, and find ways to interact with people on a regular basis.
Just like companies spend a lot of time and effort cultivating their brands, your personal brand can play a huge role in advancing your career. There are also some great resources on personal branding online, and I would recommend thinking about ways to utilize it to achieve your goals moving forward!
Doron Tamari is currently the Sr. Manager of Innovation at 4FRONT. They are an agency designed to drive traditional & non traditional revenue growth. They advise organizations of all sizes on issues and opportunities related to marketing, revenue generation, ticket sales, sponsorships and analytics for revenue growth, fan engagement and more. Prior to 4FRONT Doron was the Assistant Director of Branding at the Big Ten Conference. He's a marketing professional with ten years of experience at nationally recognized organizations in small and large media markets. He got his Bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland and his Masters from UNC Chapel Hill. He's also a mentor in theClubhouse, go here and schedule a 1:1 call with him to review your personal brand now!