Whether you know it or not, you have a personal brand. When you Google yourself, what pops up? These results are the first impression people will have of you. Is it a good one? Is the information you are sharing across LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media sites consistent? Whether you have a date or a job interview, chances are someone is going to Google you to learn more about who you are. The question is, do you want to allow your online reputation to take on a life of its own or control the narrative? With the increase in social media channels, the shifting ways in which we work today including self employment, the gig economy and side hustles it has become essential for everyone to embrace their personal brand.
What is a personal brand?
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is famously quoted as saying, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” The term “branding” used to be a business remit, and is used to help products or services stand out from the crowd, be instantly recognisable and forms emotional connections and loyalty with its users.
But with the growth in social media usage and the shifts in the way we work now and will work in the future , personal branding has never been more important! Personal branding is taking all we know about branding and relating it to you – highlighting your best bits. It represents who you are as an individual, and helps you to build a positive reputation for yourself both personally and professionally. It’s about taking responsibility over how you present yourself – keeping it real and authentic. Personal branding is an ongoing process of marketing your qualities, personality, and skills.
Why it’s more important than ever
Whether you’re an employee, a freelancer or entrepreneur, nurturing a personal brand has become more important than ever. One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. Recent studies have shown 75% of recruiters use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.
Personal branding is also beneficial from the employer’s perspective. Companies should encourage employees to build strong personal brands because it’s good business. It reflects the type of business you are. When employees represent their company at conferences or events, they are not benefiting form personal development but also providing exposure for the business. In turn this can help acquire new customers and retain existing ones when they are viewed as trustworthy thought leaders.
Another reason personal branding is valuable is that the changing ways in which we work is having a real impact. Nowadays the average person switches jobs every 2 to 3 years, the young millennials, and Gen Z will demand more and have access online to a wide variety of business owners and employers. Side hustles are on the increase as are career shifters in later life! If they have strong personal brands this will enable the process of faster progression more achievable as they become a more attractive proposition to new employers. Gig working will increase as businesses avoid committing to permanent contracts and employees seek out variety and flexibility
Companies will do just about anything to avoid hiring full-time employees. Add to that the fact that there is no job security anymore, and workers are increasingly aware that they need to work differently if they want to create any sort of stability for themselves.”Diane Mulcahy, the author of The Gig Economy
As a result, you need to be able to clearly communicate who you are and what you do to stand out to prospective clients and employers. If you aren’t effectively managing your online reputation, then you run the risk of losing out on jobs, promotions or new business.
Examples of personal branding greats!
Developing a great personal brand doesn’t happen overnight. It’s imperative to be able to communicate your purpose and mission to your audience in a genuine way. Here are some examples of famous people who have built incredible personal brands through hard work, consistency and a long-term focus:
With more than 11 million subscribers on YouTube, Zoella (aka Zoe Sugg) is one of the most popular beauty vloggers to date. It is entertaining to watch her video tutorials because of her sense of humour as well as her bubbly personality. She has made several TV appearances and is also the digital ambassador for mental health. She has released two books, Girl Online and Girl Online: On Tour.
Founder of Virgin Group, entrepreneur, author, philanthropist, and seemingly cool dude. Yet beyond his obvious success by pushing the boundaries, is an unwavering personal brand. Crafting unique content to present on each social channel creates a solidified brand statement. He’s bold and funny. His Twitter bio tells you the type of professional he is – a go-getter, a challenger on a mission, and someone willing to do things unconventionally. He’s honest and heartfelt and many love him for it!
” Your personal brand is your reputation. And your reputation in perpetuity is the foundation of your career.”Gary Vaynerchuk
Whether you’re looking for a better job or more sales for your company, personal branding is more important than ever. You don’t need to be Zoella or Richard Branson to have a great personal brand. It’s just a matter of continually crafting and marketing your on and offline presence and most importantly, keep it real! Your honesty, transparency and authenticity are what will differentiate you in the long-run. Remember first impressions count—make it one that will set you apart, build trust and reflect who you are.
WHY NOT START CRAFTING YOUR PERSONAL BRAND TODAY?