It is highly likely that you have at some point in your life considered branding. Companies regularly spend thousands of dollars on the development, protection and propagation of their branding. They are known by their branding, for better or worse.
Brands are identities.
I see a lot of branding in my work and I am intrigued at what is behind a companies branding decisions; but I wonder, do we ever think about how our lives might have a branding as well? If branding is the identifier of a product or service, wouldn’t it make sense to have a personal branding? Maybe it is time we started thinking about how we are identified, whether to our friends or professionally. This isn’t just a question for the entrepreneur or freelancer, no, this is a question for everyone.
Recently I got to connect with a friend, working in Denmark’s photography industry, on this topic. He is beginning to meet with clients to discuss their personal branding and the influence it has on the way he photographs them, but also how they live their lives. It seems like this is something that would just make sense, but it is just now beginning to be discussed among a larger audience.
What do you want to be known for?
If you are an entrepreneur you want to be the first name that comes to mind for needs in your particular industry, or maybe it’s just what you’re known for among family and friends. Whatever the reason, you are known for something, you have a brand. Why not take control of it?
It is important to realize that decisions are made based on your branding. I dare say, we all do this. I am currently working on a project that involves a very unique type of video production. Knowing this, I asked a videographer, who I know is very accomplished in this style, to join the production team. I know her skills and I know that she will produce exactly what we need. It is her brand.
Your brand should bring value to those who identify with it. Matt Britton, Founder and CEO of MRY, says it this way, “Ask yourself, ‘What can I bring my audience every day that they will derive value from? Maybe you have great recipes, maybe you have a knack for home design, or are astute at tracking industry trends. Whatever that offering is, focus on it and get better at it.’” (-via Inc.com)
This isn’t about creating false personas or false realities. No, this is the truth of who you are at your core, false advertising never gets anyone very far.
Personal branding isn’t about you getting ahead in life or growing your status, it is about contributing to society and creating community that enriches and develops. When those around you need something you can do, do they think of you? Why/Why not?
Be yourself, your honest self, and be the best you can at it. It is what you will be known for. It will be your brand.