Personal branding isn’t the easiest thing ever, but it’s not the hardest thing either.
Personal branding is all the rage these days.
And it should be. It’s smart to give yourself a personal brand before someone else does. Take control.
As you think about how to build your own personal brand, keep these things in mind.
1. Branding is about more than “logos.”
Great logos are great, but they’re just logos unless you’ve got substance behind them.
Before spending time and money on creating logos, spend some time to create your message. Your message is much more important than logos.
So while logos and pictures and things like that will help draw people to you, your message will keep people with you.
Think message before logo.
2. “Authenticity” is cliche nowadays, but it’s still incredibly important.
Let’s say you’re building a personal brand as a business.
Being authentic is incredibly important. But what is authenticity?
Authenticity is about more than just being yourself. To me, authenticity also includes talking about only what you know. If you talk about things you don’t know, then you should be willing to let people know that you don’t know for sure.
In short, authenticity is honesty.
There’s a lot of pressure to become an “expert” as we build our personal brands. That’s good pressure, but don’t be fooled: being an “expert” doesn’t mean that you know everything about that topic. What separates a true expert from a phony expert is the willingness to learn more about their topic.
Be honest as you build your brand, and be willing to constantly learn new things about your topic.
3. Sometimes, branding is backwards.
When cowboys brand their cattle, they sear their ranch’s logo onto the animal’s skin. The cowboys are claiming the cattle.
That’s how branding used to work, especially at the corporate level. Businesses used to brand their customers. They seared their logos onto us. With few exceptions, companies don’t brand their customers anymore.
Now, customers brand the companies they buy from.
This can be true with personal brands, as well.
Branding ourselves as “experts” is much different than being branded an expert by the people who follow us. The former is weaker than the latter.
In reality, our brand is our reputation. A reputation is given to us by others.
A final thought: brands are earned.
Our personal brand is earned, not created out of thin air.
We’ve got to work hard to have others believe in our message. We only have so much control over what others think of us. At the end of the day, our brand is what others think of us.
Think of your brand as your reputation.
What kind of reputation do you want?
Now, go work for it.