A personal brand isn’t just a useful tool for gaining employment, improving your career or establishing yourself as an entrepreneur. It is who you are and what you offer to those around you. Your personal brand is present in your online assets – your personal website, your social media accounts, etc. – but it is also found in the way you communicate with people, in your interests and hobbies, in your goals. Because it is so descriptive of who you are, because it is fundamental to your identity, it can be difficult to develop a personal brand that makes you proud.
It’s true: A personal brand doesn’t exist without effort, just as your personality and values didn’t emerge over a single night. If you are trying to build your personal brand, here are a few qualities you need to acquire to ensure your brand is unique, marketable and you.
It is possible to disconnect your brand from your true self, advertising a professional who offers whatever anyone is looking for rather than selling your true values, skills and nature. However, in doing this, you are less likely to be satisfied by the brand you produce – and your onlookers are less likely to be satisfied, as well.
Authenticity is among the most important qualities in modern brands. Millennials and gen z abhor disingenuous marketing tactics, and they are more capable than previous generations of detecting insincerity. You can improve the impact of your personal brand and make it feel more “you” by building an authentic brand.
Throughout your years on this planet, you have cultivated a background of experiences as well as a set of patterns of thinking, feeling and acting that work in concert to form your personality. Your personality can attract people to you, demonstrating your positive attributes and helping you to be memorable, or your personality can keep people away, scaring them off with aggressive, awkward or otherwise unappealing features.
Your personal brand has a personality as well, but it is not always identical to your personality. In fact, that might be why you find your personal brand so distasteful: because it clashes with the person you are behind it. To understand your brand’s personality, you should try to ascribe descriptors to it. For example, would you call your brand relaxed? Imaginative? Sweet? Conservative? Rebellious? Humble? If any adjective directly opposes one of your personality traits, you should consider modifying your brand to better fit you.
Just as your personal brand should not conflict with your personal characteristics, it should be internally consistent. To that end, you should develop a unifying visual theme that carries across all brand assets, from your website to your social media profiles to your resume. This theme should echo stated goals and values. Never should you outright contradict your brand; doing this will confuse and upset those who interact with you and your brand – see: authenticity, above. Instead, you should strive to build a brand that isn’t a struggle to maintain consistency.
Another reason you might not feel bonded to your personal brand is a lack of dedication to cultivating it. Once you begin creating your personal brand, you can’t stop. Building it is a lifelong endeavor that affects and is affected by everything you do. For example, if you start a blog, that blog should be influenced by and will influence your personal brand. If you enroll in an AACSB-accredited online MBA program, your personal brand should change. You must be dedicated to maintaining your personal brand throughout life’s ups and downs, so your brand always feels like it belongs to you.
Not everything you do in life will ignite your passion, but your personal brand should make you exited for your next opportunity. In fact, the very act of adding to it should feel exhilarating; if it doesn’t, you might be building a brand that won’t create the right opportunities for you.
Putting together a personal brand is not easy, but it should be rewarding work. When you assemble a personal brand you are proud of, you will ensure yourself a career that never fails to make you feel fulfilled.