If you've ever sat through any of my live sessions -- whether a youth event or corporate conference -- you've heard me say that personal branding is primarily important for two reasons:
Perception is reality and
We want to maintain a certain amount of control of that perception
But even with that rationale, it seems that many still don't get why personal branding is so important, and if they do, they find themselves feeling very uncomfortable about the whole idea.
On the surface, personal branding may seem selfish. It may seem self- serving, pretentious or even conceited. Doing things to promote yourself, such as sharing your accomplishments on social media, having a personal website, professional headshots and an elevator pitch, is often seen as the routine of self-interested people. Y'know, celebrities or those annoying co- workers who talk about themselves nonstop...
However, when done properly, your personal brand should be less about self-promotion and more about service to others. Personal branding is a personal -- and private -- exercise in growing confidence, credibility and courage to help you target priorities so that you can focus on those aspects of your life you enjoy most.
Personal branding is not about being omnipresent. Instead, your personal brand should define who you are and the type of person you want to be so that you can leverage your strengths to help others.
There are many, many reasons why establishing and growing your personal brand adds value to your professional career or small business. Your personal brand will help you:
Showcase your true, authentic self
Understand your strengths and weaknesses so you can leverage them to differentiate yourself form others in your industry
Build your network, on and off line
Establish trust and credibility with your target audiences
Prove your worth
Stand out from others in your field
Solidify your niche and expertise
Create meaningful interactions with potential clients, prospective employers and possible business partners
Further, it is important to understand that everyone has a personal brand. Yes, even you, whether you realize it or not. Your brand is defined by everything you do, from what you wear to how you compose emails to how you conduct yourself on the phone. If you’re not taking control and owning your brand story, that means someone else is doing it for you.
Personal branding is important for a lot of reasons, but overall you want to ensure that you are leveraging every opportunity to position yourself to grow personally, professionally and privately.