I am writing this article to hopefully help out everyone interested in creating their brand. I am currently in the pursuit of doing it myself. Now, I know what you might be thinking: 1. That you are not sure that I know what I am talking about and 2. That you might not want to create your own “company” sort to speak, and I will address both issues before going in-depth on the topic itself.
1. I am currently still a student; I will finalize my degree in June, and I will graduate. I am pursuing a management school where I took courses such as branding, digital marketing, luxury brand management and a lot of other financial courses. As you might know, I am working on “Lifewithm” for almost a year (first anniversary in June 2020 haha). During this time, I am trying to establish my page and slowly grow it as a “brand” – I want to be able to expand the concept of Lifewithm beyond what I am doing right now.
After taking the branding course during university, I found out a lot of insights into what branding really is about, and it gave me a bit of direction of what I want to do myself. I am currently studying branding more intensely on my own time, and I am also using Digital Marketing Techniques, which I developed during my classes. In essence, I was in charge of 4 consulting projects regarding techniques for small businesses and further, got my certificate in “Fundamentals of Digital Marketing”.
This is not a way for me to “brag” about what I am doing, but rather, to give you an idea of what I am doing right now and why I am writing these articles and why you should read what I am writing (if you want to). It is more of a “business card”.
2. Branding is not entirely about creating your own company. I am quite sick and tired of all these influencers posting videos of “why I quit my 9-5, and now I work for myself” etc. I don’t agree that everybody should start a company, nor you have to. I have seen this trend rising exponentially in the past few years, with more YouTubers and social media influencers getting track and thinking that you can start a career out of social media – which will last only as long as social media continues. * I am not trying to be mean or dis on anyone, I think it’s impressive what these influencers achieved, and it is amazing for them”, however, I am trying to stay realistic for the “normal” people like us.
Therefore, I want to dismiss the idea that to create your own brand; you should create your own company, but rather, you can create something out of yourself.
I wasn’t aware of the notion of personal branding before. Personal branding refers to marketing a person, in this case, yourself, to be portrayed as a “brand”. Influencers and social media people apply this term the most, as they have a personal brand behind their image.
Nowadays, it is essential to work towards creating a brand for yourself. It is more or less the same as a “business card” – It is useful, especially in the job market post this pandemic crisis.
So, finally, we are arriving at the question “how to create your brand”, and here I will outline a few steps which I think are essential and which I took myself:
1. Find out what you really like
I have talked about this in my Guide as well, and it refers to finding out what would you like your “personal brand” to be about – in which industry, area etc would you like to make a career out of, or what exactly is that you want to do in general.
A straightforward exercise here is to think back when you were a child and think about a very prominent memory – for me, it was drawing, for example. Now, when you think about that memory, think about the critical aspect of it, try to analyze it; for example, I used to love drawing, which means I am more prone to subjects such as literature, writing etc. and in fact, I have never had any passions for finance subjects. Try to think further of what that memory is telling you and try to discover if it is accurate.
2. Take ownership
After you have decided that this is what you want to do and you really like it, and it is something that you want to pursue, take ownership for it. Become the CEO of “you inc” – take responsibility for things coming your way, look at opportunities and take them, try to be the best version of yourself. See where your “company” (yourself) needs improving and don’t be afraid to change some things.
3. Combine your expertise, passion and vision
Create a vision. The vision here refers to where you want your brand to go – would you like to become a manager, a CEO or even have your own company, this is vision. Write it down. Believe it. And then ask yourself “what can I do to achieve it?”
4. Who is your network?
Your network will help you either get a job or promote yourself or your company etc. Ask yourself who is in your system: Passive network (friends, family, colleagues and supervisors, business partners) and active network (industry experts, mentors and school coaching). These people will help you out.
LinkedIn is a handy platform where you can create your own network and talk to different people from various industries.
5. Write articles & add value to your knowledge
Lastly, this is perfect practice. Try to write articles in your field and try to acquire as much knowledge as you can. By doing so, you will be prepared in a lot of situations, and you can also delight your network with useful information. Reading books, research papers in the field you are interested in will help you attract people that are interested in the same area and further grow your brand.
As we reach the end of this lengthy post, I hope that I provided some useful information and insights into what personal branding really is about. I think you can also research more on branding itself if you are curious by reading some Harvard Business Publishing articles which are really useful and exciting.
PS: Sorry for the lengthy post and thank you so much for reading it!