Branding is a term associated with products and services, but when we talk about personal branding, you need to understand it is all about You. And by all I mean every single detail that is associated with you. From your business attire, the look of your office to a small detail like your business card.
If you think about branding yourself, you need to start thinking strategically about your image by creating it and managing to achieve success. And by success I mean to achieve goals you set for yourself.
Building personal brand is a process, which starts with the evaluation of your current image and the way you are perceived by other people. You need to remember that you can control the way you dress, behave, communicate, but you cannot control the way people perceive it, because each person add a different meaning to your image. It is simply the matter of interpretation. That interpretation is based on a person’s experience, beliefs and values. Your image cannot be good or bad, it simply can be helpful or distracting tool to achieve your goals.
Brand and Image are sometimes used interchangeably, but I like to differentiate those two, as they relate to two different areas. Image is more visual representation of a person, while the brand has broadened meaning and is related to values and exists in the heart and the mind of your audience.
To be successful you need to be in control of your total image and every single element of it. This cannot be created against your own nature, against your values. This has to come from within and needs to be constructed on fundaments that are immanent part of you. You can work on certain elements by focusing on developing your strengths and controlling your weaknesses and unsupportive behaviors to increase professional effectiveness and better your social life.
When planning your brand identity, you need to ask yourself; ‘what I want to tell my audience about myself, how I want to be perceived. What is my message?
Whether you are meeting business partners, new clients or going for a job interview, you need to answer those questions. The deal will be closed, new clients acquired and you get your new job if your image perceives the positive values those people are looking for. As I said, it cannot be good or bad, it simply matches your audience expectations of a perfect business partner or executive or not. So you need to realize your image and the way you are perceived is a matter of establishing trust in business relationships.
People do business with people they know, like and trust. And sometimes you have very little time to convince someone. Visual impressions are important and are part of the process of communication. You need more time to present yourself and show your value, so you need to buy yourself time.
Dave van Hose from Speaking Empire, with whom I organized a couple of events in Europe, says; ‘Show up like no other’. This is exactly the point. The first impression has to be remarkable and memorable. Be positive, confident, decisive, honest and pleasant. Gain people’s heart before you talk to their mind. If they experience you positively on an emotional level, they will be more open on intellectual level. And if you control your identity, you can control your career and your personal life.