I cringe when I read a blog post or article about “creating” your brand.
“Defining” your brand is more to the point. “Creating” evokes designing something out of nothing.
Your brand is already there, in the hearts and minds of those who know you best, and those who work with you.
If you’ve been in the world any amount of time, you have a reputation for the passions, skill sets, personal attributes and strengths that drive you. That’s your personal brand.
The people around you know what your personal brand is all about. They know the value you offer in the marketplace.
You probably have a good idea, too. But you won’t have a full understanding of your brand without some hard work.
To define your personal brand, you have to identify those passions, skill sets, personal attributes and strengths, to then create brand messaging designed to resonate with whomever you’re targeting.
If you think you can “create” a personal brand by throwing together some content – for a brand statement or nifty tagline – around some persona you want to be, you likely won’t be communicating your authentic brand.
You’ll be telling people what you think they want to hear . . . not who you really are.
That content may land you where you want to be, but you’ll probably fall short of your claims pretty quickly. You’ll be found out as a sham . . . and you’ll tarnish your reputation.
Many times my clients have thought they knew what kind of content best described them and would help them land, but what they really had was content that positioned them in the same way as their competitors.
Sameness doesn’t sell you. Differentiation does. Authentic branding helps you differentiate your value over your competitors.
Once they’d done the back end work of targeting, research, introspection and collaboration, my clients were able to clearly define their good-fit qualities for the employers they’re targeting.
So before you jump in, thinking you can “create” your personal brand, be willing to do some deep self-assessment, ask others for feedback and research the employers or organizations that will be a mutual good-fit for you.
Then you’ll be ready to write your personal marketing materials (resume, biography, cover letters, LinkedIn profile, Google+ profile, etc.) around the qualities and qualifications they’re seeking.