No matter where you journey in life, or what new horizons may beckon, you must pause from time to time to care for your personal brand. It is part of your long-term investment in yourself. When was the last time you gave some thought to your personal brand?
It’s important to regularly reflect on your personal brand. Is it what you’d like it be? Personal branding is not just about a job you had or even a business you launched that later carried you through many adventures. A personal brand is your reputation, your personality and your track record all rolled into one package. It’s absolutely your most valuable asset. As serial entrepreneur Chris Ducker once said, “Your personal brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”
When it comes to reinforcing or even reinventing a personal brand, consistency is critical. That’s why it’s crucial for you to give your personal branding strategy some serious thought. Do you want to be known as an expert in a specific area? Are you venturing into a whole new arena and wonder how that will mesh with your past experience? Are you a collaborative leader, a kind leader or one who is focused on giving back? What do you think is your most important quality in business? How do you want others to perceive you? These are the kinds of questions that can have a major impact on your personal brand.
Don’t just drift along, hoping your life’s master plan will unfold the way you envision. Take an active role in building your own personal brand. Branding isn’t optional in today’s business world. It’s a necessity. Once you determine what you’d like your brand to be, act in ways that support it. Share content online that reinforces your brand. Be a part of organizations and initiatives that align with that brand. You don’t want to try and be someone you aren’t. But you do want to tap what’s best in you and make sure your actions and words reflect what makes you unique.
Tom Peters, who coined the term ‘personal branding’ back in 1997, gave advice that year that is still true today: “You’re every bit as much a brand as Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop. To start thinking like your own favorite brand manager, ask yourself the same question the brand managers at Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop ask themselves: What is it that my product or service does that makes it different? We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. Create a message and a strategy to promote the brand called You.”
A personal brand is the sum total of the energy and time you put into your career. It’s what you stand for. It’s how others see you. What does your personal brand say?