Most of my clients are BIPOC or first-generation professionals who are working in tech, are almost universally interested in long-term career growth. During our conversations, we’ll typically land on the idea of building a personal brand. A personal brand is something that I'm a big fan of, yet surprisingly, it's a common struggle for my clients who are sabotaged by feelings of self-doubt or that inner voice that screams "that we are not good enough."
Today, I want to unpack what a personal brand is and how you can build your own with 6 easy tips.
First, what is a personal brand?
Everyone knows what a corporate brand is. Some are lifestyle brands; others are consumer-based. We can often identify what a brand is about sometimes just by looking at their logo or reading their tagline.
We, of course, don’t carry around badges or tag lines on our bodies. Instead, personal brands need to be built in other ways. For example, is how we carry ourselves at work and in our personal lives. It's is how we show up, with our strengths, our values, and principles.
In essence, a personal brand is your story. It’s our identity that sets us apart from others.
Tip 1: Decide what you want to be known for
We communicate our personal brands both online and offline through our actions, the way we dress, and the way we speak. The first step in building your personal brand is to decide what you want to be known for. Let me give you three questions that will help you with this:
What would you like people to remember you if you are no longer here?
What are your most important values, and how are they reflected in your daily decisions?
What is your gift (or gifts) to the world?
Tip 2: Become an SME
If you want to build your brand, you need to work on your credibility. In order to build your credibility, you need to make sure you do your homework and become a true master of your craft. People need to know you are the go-to person for whatever you do.
Here are a few ideas on how to do this:
Join a professional organization
Participate in conferences that will make you better at what you do.
Subscribe to a magazine such as HBR or Forbes.
Read books and articles or podcast that will add to your knowledge expertise.
Volunteer at work or at a ERG on a subject you love.
Tip 3: Develop an elevator pitch
Much has been said over the years about developing an elevator pitch, and you can find lots of great tips on how to develop yours.
The important part today is that you develop one. By laying out your elevator pitch in a succinct way, it can help you decide if you’ve zeroed in on what your brand actually is. In other words, if you can’t define your brand in a couple of sentences (your elevator pitch), it means that your brand hasn’t been clearly defined.
Tip 4: Ask for recommendations
Another great way to build a personal brand is to ask for recommendations. These can come in various forms and from different types of individuals. For example, your co-workers could simply act as a reference on your resume. Your boss or former supervisor may be willing to give you a written letter of recommendation. A client may be willing to share their testimonial with you to post on your website. Regardless of where you are at in your career, there’s always someone who can speak highly of you, your work, and ultimately help build your personal brand for you.
Tip 5: Get social
While I’ll focus on specific social media tips in a later blog, an important tool in building your personal brand is social media. This includes everything from your personal Facebook profile to any pages you may proactively manage to your Twitter, LinkedIn, and beyond. Specially LinkedIn.
Everything you say or post on these online platforms should match the personal brand you’re building offline. Make a point to use LinkedIn if you are interested in becoming well known in the professional world.
Tip 6: Always be on-brand
So that being said, it also means that your brand always follows you. How you show up and come across and everything you do or say can impact your brand, both positively and negatively. Therefore, you need to remember that you’re always on brand, and proactively take steps and actions both on and offline that promote your brand and what it represents.
I know this can be difficult to do, as we’re all human and have situations that frustrate us. That's why like to recommend to have clear operating life principles.
Principles, are like an operating system that will allow you to make decisions in a much agile, yet authentic way if as long as they have been intentionally created and you commit to them.
Principles allow us to navigate the messiness of being human, make decisions faster, without departing from our true selves.
Building your personal brand can help build career success!
Once you know what you want to be known for, do your research, and start taking steps such as laying out your elevator pitch, engaging online, asking for recommendations, and staying on-brand as much as is possible, you’ll be pretty close to cementing your personal brand in the eyes of those around you. That also means that long-term career success is within your grasp.
Do you need help developing your brand?
My mission at Prime You Coaching is to equip mid-level professionals of color or from underrepresented backgrounds with the mindset and skills to achieve that leadership role.
Through my exclusive coaching Elevate and Own Your Voice™ program we will work from the inside out to facilitate your transition to an executive position in a way that is authentic and powerful to you. And you’ll leave with an actionable, achievable game plan to obtain and succeed in that leadership position you want — on your terms.
I’d love to speak with you and walk you through each of these tips one by one. Just visit my contact page, fill out my short form.