When someone meets you for the first time: within the first few seconds, that person makes up his or her mind about you. In the first five seconds, that person has created an image about you in his mind. Your first impression is significantly more important than your next five combined. Your fate has been sealed even before you utter a single word.
The question “What is my brand?” can be a pathway to the real question, “What do I want to accomplish in my lifetime?”. Your brand is just the outward reflection of who are you, so – who are you? What do you want? What path are you on? Where are you planning to go?
The easiest thing for a stressed-out business or professional person to say and to believe is “It’s not my plan. I follow the market/organisation demands.” That’s a monumental declaration. It says that your career runs you, rather than the other way around. Please remember people who don’t have a plan for themselves are always part of someone else’s plan.
The best part about personal branding is that it focuses on the most important asset you have—YOU. Your personal brand is the embodiment of the values and qualities you cherish. Branding is all about what others think of you.
Your brand is the expression in words of your purpose, not just your degrees and your years of experience. Anyone who is interested in knowing you, being with you or working with you, better be interested in where you come from and how you see the world – or why bother?
Like it or not, you already are a brand – You may not know what it is, It may not be accurate, It may not be the brand you want but nevertheless it is there. It is what people perceive about you based on your behaviour pattern. It is what people say about you when you’re not in the room; the value you command in the marketplace; what you bring to your business relationships and the goodwill on your personal balance sheet.
When building a personal brand, you begin by identifying the emotion you want to evoke in your audience. You must consistently engage in intentional behavior that promotes and reinforces the word or phrase you have chosen. Managing a personal brand goes beyond being an expert. Your personal style can give you more authenticity so spend some time defining it and be consistent with it. Create a communication style in your brand that suits you. It is not only your verbal communication alone, it is your nonverbal communication that also defines your brand. Define it, refine it, own it. That’s what you owe yourself, and the people who love you, and all of us. It’s what we all owe one another.
The reality is that you are the product, like it or not. As aptly stated by Napoleon Hill: “People buy your personality and ideas long before they buy your products and services.”