guest post by Jane Dizon
5 Ways to Brand Yourself for Amazing Results in 2017
I can still remember being fascinated by Audrey Hepburn when I was growing up. She was undeniably the epitome of elegance from top to toe. From her pearls, to her iconic little black dress, to her wistful films, you can easily identify her brand.
The effect that she had on me was how she took a stance on her career, the way she dresses, and how the world perceives her. Audrey Hepburn emanates a different kind of class that she alone can pull off—now that’s good personal branding.
In lieu of entrepreneurship, one of the most important aspects business, startup, or retail owners invest in, is a good branding strategy. With the right identity and value proposition, a business can stand out and be recognized as relevant — the ultimate goal. If we put this into a personal context, branding yourself can be a huge advantage. In a world where impressions last only for a moment, being relevant and relatable will differentiate you from the rest.
A personal brand makes you impactful, substantial, and memorable to help you achieve your goals, be it landing your first job, starting a business venture, or even becoming a famous actor like Audrey Hepburn.
Connect with your future employer and build meaningful foundations that last. Here are five ways to brand yourself this new year:
- Tell your story instead of your qualifications.
Your story is your most powerful brand attribute. It makes you distinct and memorable. Instead of selling your skills and knowledge set, exactly like everyone else, why not sell your story and emerge from the crowd?
Tell a hiring manager that one time you lead a big project. How did you manage your team? What were the problems and how did you solve them? If you’re a freelancer, tell your prospect client your creative process. How do you find balance between your concepts and client needs? In this way, you’re creating a more meaningful interaction, be it through your résumé or job interview.
- Nail your social media persona.
Employers need more than a fancy résumé. It won’t help your case if you don’t embrace the world of digital. (Come on, it’s 2017!) Instead of telling your story on a three-paged CV, leave your marks all over the world wide web. Here are some ideas on how to create a killer online persona:
- LinkedIn - Build a professional and visually looking profile by shooting a video of yourself to upload on your page. Spend time writing your introduction, again, tell a story and don’t throw out big words like, fast learner, competent, or hard working. Instead, tell the story of how you got in your industry and about the turning point which distinguishes you from others — that could also be your hook.
- Facebook - Set your profile’s privacy wisely keeping intimate information to people you know and showing significant information to the right people (e.g. your future boss).
- Twitter - Follow relevant people in your industry and retweet their posts. Don’t stop there. If you stumble upon highly relevant information, tweet it! Engagement to your target audience will also help in raising your followers. Ask them questions, encourage them to comment, retweet, and like your posts.
- Invest on a killer business card on paper and online.
Business cards are also an important aspect of your personal brand. If it gets lost easily on someone’s desk, or worst, becomes trash, then it clearly means you need to update from plain and unforgettable to awesome and memorable. Here are some tips:
- Think less is more by putting only your name, tagline, and contact info. Steer clear from ostentatious designs and fancy fonts.
- Speaking of tagline, think of a short, expert yet snappy tagline that resonates you and what you do. For example, Digital Catalyst if you’re a Digital Marketer and Ambassador of Buzz if you’re a Social Media Manager. (My tagline is Writer by day, Ninja Mom by night.)
- Match it with your brand, be creative, and don’t be boring. Be unpredictable. Be active and opinionated on current events. Dress in a certain way. There are countless ways to do it, but the most important thing is to do what comes natural in you. What’s worse than being normal is inauthentic.
It also helps to have your own website where you can highlight details in both your professional and personal life that didn’t make it to your CV through a dedicated About Me page. Start a blog there while you’re at it. Through blogging, you can impress your future employers by writing what you know best and presenting yourself as an expert on that matter.
- Create a distinct look.
You got a story to sell, a strong online persona, and an awesome business card. It’s now time to wrap it all up in a box with big, gleaming bow on top.
Beauty and brains are the two must-haves in personal branding. Think of it this way: your look is like packaging. Is it inviting enough for someone to open it and see what’s inside?
Here’s how you can achieve that distinct, personal look:
- Choose a wardrobe that resonates your personality. Bold? Minimalist?
- Choose a look that shows you care, as if you have thought about every piece that goes in your ensemble.
- Choose your statement piece, be it fun dress socks, bow ties, ribbon headbands — something that catches attention. And the most important step is, you have to own it.
- Think a word that best describes you and live by it.
When you think about yourself, what’s the first word that pops in your mind? Is it not the word you’d want to represent you? Would your friends say the same word?
Now, choose a word you want other people to identify you as. Is it consistent? Bold? Fearless? Confident? Think about that word and commit to it. Live and breathe it. You’d be surprised that it’s in you all along. All it took was focus and commitment. Create a poster of your word and hang it in your office where you’ll see it every day!
Change Is Bound to Happen
Businesses invest on branding because they need a change to innovate and ensure success. They need to set the direction and define exactly who they are. Branding yourself not only helps you achieve professional success, it’s also a journey to really knowing who you are and proudly declaring it to the world.
BIO: Jane is a writer by day, ninja mom by night. You can browse her writing portfolio here. She works as a digital marketing specialist at a branding agency in Edmonton. She is obsessed with sticky notes, Excel sheets, and green tea. You can connect with her via Twitter and LinkedIn.