Personal Branding: Top 3 Must-Knows
What is Branding? In its most visual sense, branding is the unique ranch logo seared into a cattle’s skin. It is a clear mark that tells a bold story. Traditional business advertising has incorporated strong branding for ages - logos, slogans, mascots, and taglines are all ways to project a story. But with the rise of social marketing and the ability of any person to build a brand and to market themselves (personal branding), the competition of brands and the expansion from logos to full project management has created a complex challenge for most job seekers and individuals. Here are 3 must-knows to help you identify a good branding path for you:
#1 Branding is a journey - not a destination
Don’t be afraid to try a brand. If it doesn’t work for you, you can always change. Personal Branding is a lifelong journey which takes unexpected roads and twisty turns. Almost every major company has a logo evolution of some kind which reflects the change in management and customer needs. The most important thing to remember is not to let your core principals slip. Find a foundation, talent, or perspective that is uniquely yours and own it with every brand tweak or transformation you make.
#2 Be concise, direct, and complete
One of the most common things I address with my clients is a messy brand. A few ways to recognize a messy brand are:
Lack of Point - too much on the table
Lack of Simplicity - takes effort to understand
Lack of Formatting - visually unattractive or spelling/grammar errors
Lack of Details - not elaborating on main points
Most people are constantly multitasking. You may even be doing it while you are reading this article! That is fine, but do not multitask your brand. It only takes seconds for a reader to get turned off or confused with a messy brand. For instance, hiring managers cannot read from a messy brand how to fit a job seeker into their organization. Likewise, a corporation with too many goals driving a project will always receive less than optimal results. In most cases, you should find a way to say it all with less. One way to achieve this is to pick 1-3 focal points and emphasize those with the other skills or experiences as support.
#3 The Heart of Successful Branding - Assessment
Assessment is the heart, the foundation, the arms, and every other piece of branding. Bottom-line is assessment is KEY. Self-assessment and market-assessment will be the two most important factors in helping you determine a good brand for you. Unfortunately, very few people are born with the innate skill of assessing themselves and their market accurately without expensive and technical data mining tools. This is where an outside opinion can really take you miles in your efforts. I have found that most people need to collaborate, listen, and reach out around them to get a better focus on their own strengths, successes, and failures. The two greatest hurdles are finding the nerve to ask, and accepting whatever opinions come back without letting it damage the core principals of your brand.
As you move forward with these three elements, your brand will become your story, and your story will become you. Taking time to think through and visualize your brand is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself as you move through life's challenges. Always remember in each brand transformation to be brave, be direct, and continually assess.