When people began to understand how brands are molded by public perception, the idea of a brand soon found itself linked to formerly disassociated concepts like "you" as a person. After all, brands are themselves persons in a way, with their own distinct quirks, pitfalls, and personalities. By the same token, you yourself can be regarded as a brand – a product with an identifiable persona that is partly self-cultivated and partly shaped by your engagement with others.
You may not have realized it yet, but people around you probably already have determined your brand value. You're the nice guy or the sassy girl. Take advantage of it.
Individuals and Brands
Most people don't think of themselves as brands and it's hard to disagree. Individuals are more than the adjectives that others attach to them. It's not hard to imagine the sassy girl crying to One More Chance at home or the nice guy rocking with a band in the evening.
However, your personal brand did not come from a void. It came after others interacted with you or your work, and then formed an opinion. It might not be the one you chose yourself but it's still yours. That doesn't mean it can't be changed, but this may require some planning and effort.
The Value of a Brand
As Filipinos, we immediately understand that a brand, a name has meaning. We have a brand pecking order for almost all our purchases. More familiarly, we are impressed by the value of family brands like Ayala, Lopez, and Aboitiz. Brands can inspire confidence and persuade others. Now, add a first name and we will have a personal brand.
Unfortunately, few people clearly convey the message of their brand. Personal blogs and social media profiles, the most common method of transmitting #You, often have very little focus – these are laden with Internet fads, vacation photos, selfies, food pics, and the occasional rant that in all likelihood echo the profiles of a hundred other persons. Needless to say, they're not very good at selling you.
Before anything else, it's important to define #You. This doesn't have to encapsulate your entire self, but it does need to focus on your strong points while taking into account what others see. Find a niche that you want to be known for and stick to it. Don’t just be the sassy girl or nice guy. Be the sassy social media PR girl or the nice techie client-is-first guy.
After defining yourself, make sure the concept permeates your interactions on and offline, especially when it comes to your professional life. Talk about your niche with your clients and professional contacts.Your blogs and social media also have to reinforce your image. Follow others who have similar expertise and produce content with your specialty as a focus. Remember to tailor your portfolio to your brand.
Once your personal brand has taken off, you can expect to become the resource person – in your industry at least. Clients will come to you when they have a related problem instead of the other way around.
Once your personal brand has started to be recognized by the public, promoting yourself can be exhausting and full of difficult questions. That's where PR can step in and help.
Questions about your personal brand? Write in the comment section below.