People often ask “What is a personal brand? What does it really mean in real practical terms?”
So I thought it was time I wrote a blog post on what it is and how you can create one that’ll help you become an expert and leader in your field.
In the simplest terms, your brand is what you represent. It’s a combination of who you are on the inside, what you offer to people and how others perceive you.
My grandmother first taught me about branding when I was 4 years old.
She’d always fuss over what I was wearing and would make sure that when my sister and I went to church, we wore the prettiest dresses she could find. Our shoes were polished, our hair was made to perfection and she told us to respect ourselves and everyone we meet.
She’d say “You are Rakhetla’s. When you walk out the door you must make your family proud.”
I didn’t know what she was talking about. And she definitely didn’t think she was teaching me branding. She thought she was teaching me how to build a positive reputation around my name and my family name.
And that’s sort of what branding is, your reputation. And your reputation isn’t what people say to your face. It’s what people say about you when you aren’t in the room.
A mistake most people make is think they don’t have a personal brand and don’t believe they need to create one.
This is a mistake because whether you consciously create your brand or not… people have a perception of you. They have a story in their head about who you are, what you do, how you behave and how you make them feel.
These perceptions and stories influence how your career will evolve over the next few years and your lifetime. It affects what work opportunities you get or what business you’ll be able to build.
If people’s perception of you doesn’t reflect how you wish people saw you… you have a problem. Because no matter how hard you try, it’ll always be hard to get that job you’ve been trying to get, to make the level of income you’ve been wishing you could reach and to make the impact you wish you could make.
If you want to be known as an expert and leader in your field, you need consciously create your personal brand.
Question is… what things influence people’s perception of you?
Here are 6 things that influence how people perceive you.
#1 – What your mission is, what you stand for and what you believe in
You don’t need to be a humanitarian like Malala Yousafzai to have a mission or to stand for something. However, people who do have a clear mission and clearly stand for something stand out.
Because their not doing a job because they have to work. Rather they are doing it because they care about making a particular impact in the world.
Mark Zuckerberg clearly stands for connecting people, Steve Jobs cared about doing something different in order to deliver better products and services…. and you … what do you believe in? What do you care about?
It’s easy to inspire or be inspired by people who have a mission others can get behind.
#2 – What your personality is like and how you behave
Are you quiet and private? Are you loud and bubbly? Are you resilient? Or do you prefer to be in your books and share the fascinating things you’ve learned?
Your personality plays a huge part in how people perceive you.
And you don’t need to change your personality to be liked. But knowing what makes you, you, and bringing this out helps people connect with who you truly are and helps others see what makes you different to everyone else.
#3 – What you do and who you work with
Companies aren’t the only ones with taglines. You have one too. The only question is, what is it?
Your tagline is your elevator pitch. A short sentence describing what you do in a way that makes people interested in wanting to connect with you and hire you when they need someone like you.
When people remember you as the go to person for xyz, you begin making a name for yourself in your field.
#4 – What problems you’ve helped people or companies solve
What helps you become an expert and leader in your field isn’t what you do. Many people perhaps do what you do.
What makes you a leader is your ability to solve problems people have a hard time solving. So think about the most burning challenges people or companies have. And if you can find a way to solve the hardest challenges, you’ll be known as one of the best in your field.
#5 – The quality of work you deliver and how valuable you are to others
Do you care about details? Do you care about the quality of your work?
I’m often baffled by people who want to become an expert and leader in their field, but don’t care about delivering high quality products, services or experiences.
The truth is… no matter what someone’s budget is, people hate getting less than what they believe they paid for.
And if you don’t honour your promises, you’re essentially delivering lower quality products, services or experiences.
People who are valuable go above and beyond. They pay attention to the smallest of details and they go the extra mile to give others the best possible experience. It doesn’t mean they don’t make mistakes or they don’t get things wrong. They do… but they’re intention is to give you their highest quality of work.
Getting clear on what excellent quality looks like in your field helps you identify how you can deliver your best work. Those who deliver their best work, can justify higher salaries or higher prices for their products and services.
Not to mention, they’re less likely to get made redundant, be turned down for a job or fail in business. Because they’ll have disappointed very few people.
#6 – How you make people feel
Last but not least, how you make people feel is what leaves a lasting impression on them.
Maya Angelou used to say “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Question is… do consciously think about how you make people feel and how you’d like to make them feel?
And that’s it.
A sum of all of these things influence make up your personal brand.
One thing to remember is, you don’t need to tell people all these 6 things for them to get this picture of you.
In fact, people can get a snapshot of it according to what they experienced when talking to you in person, when visiting your website or social media, or simply how you responded to their email.
That’s why if you consciously create a personal brand that leaves people thinking positively about you, you’re able to honour and communicate what you represent in multiple and simple ways. From the words you choose to write in your emails to how you dress, how you talk, how you solve work problems and how you present yourself.
All of the ways people interact with you paint a picture of who you are a.k.a. your personal brand.
And that’s it!
My intention is to help you gain a deeper how to create a personal brand that helps you become an expert and leader in your field. So please leave a comment below if you have any questions.
Hundreds of incredible people read this blog every week and your comment may help someone else get a breakthrough too. I can’t wait to read your comment.