When you think of personal branding, you’re really thinking about your authentic and personal story. And everyone is a brand, whether you want to be or not. Online and in person, there’s no “opt out” – you story is out there.
So, how strong is your personal brand?
The strength of your story is what teaches people how to treat you, how to pay you, and how to invest in your ideas. If you want to be effective as a leader, your effectiveness really starts with your story. And you message has to go beyond facebook and linkedin.
So, does your URL match up with IRL?
There are three things you can do, right now, to strengthen your personal brand. Create greater clarity around who you are, and what you’re about, and you can create more impact – and more value – for the people you care about.
Personal Branding: You are a Brand
Branding isn’t about broadcasting or logos (despite what you may have heard in your last marketing class). Branding is about the conversation.
So, your story isn’t just what you say or declare about yourself (“Pure Awesome! Want some?” is not really a leadership strategy). Think about what the American newsman Edward R. Murrow said: “Our greatest obligation is not to confuse slogans with solutions”. What’s the solution you can provide?
Personal Branding: Get Real
Authenticity is a funny thing. Think about it: who decides if you are authentic? You can claim to be authentic all day long, but that decision really rests with your listener or your audience. In other words, the comments matter more than the post. What’s the story that others say about you?
Personal Branding: Just Cause
One of the best ways to connect your authentic message to an audience (at work, on linkedin or anywhere) is to share the social causes that matter to you. As a leader, it’s important to give back, and your commitment to the greater good is often the most authentic way that others can see what you’re really all about. Look, you don’t have to beat people over the head with your commitment to orphans, or your religious beliefs – but make sure that people know that you stand for something more than just yourself.
The values you stand for – and the value you create – is the authentic message behind your personal branding.
Chris Westfall is the author of The NEW Elevator Pitch, and a consultant to colleges and corporations. He has worked with clients on Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den, and his latest project is called The 118 Pitch Course with Bloomberg TV’s Jeffrey Hayzlett.
Follow him on twitter @westfallonline.