As you might already know, branding refers to the impression on people or their perception of you, a company, or an entity. This simply means that whether you take the time to build the brand yourself or not, there’s a brand wandering around out there. However, the beauty of building your personal brand is that puts you in charge of many things.
By building your personal brand, you will be able to define how you want the world to see you. It allows you to determine your audience and prepare yourself in a way that you or your services will be appealing to that audience. Building your brand also allows you to determine your value, the cost of your services and stick to it.
To reap the numerous benefits of personal branding, the very first thing you must do is to take control of the narrative. Don’t sit around waiting for people to write the narrative for you because if you do, they will surely form a narrative and the result won’t be delightful. This is because you stand a high chance of being misrepresented. It’s better when you take charge of the narrative and decide how you want things to turn out.
Now the big question is, how do I take charge of the narrative?
Every content you put out there is part of your brand which is always evolving. When you use social media, send out emails, put up blog posts, speak to groups, or record and share videos, you’re already building a personal brand that also forms a narrative about you in the minds of your audience. The question is, are you shaping these contents intentionally to create the narrative you want? Are you taking time to curate your brand into what you want it to be or are you allowing it to evolve on its own?
Many times, shaping the narrative about your brand is discussed, especially when writing job applications or preparing interviews but hardly do you see practical guides or strategies that can help you do so to build your brand. If you’re known in your industry as someone who gets the job done effectively or someone who thinks out of the box to invent solutions, that alone speaks louder than a piece of paper (resume). Hence, you might not need to go through all the rigorous procedures of getting a job to land any job you want. Similar to this, as an entrepreneur who has built a personal brand for your business with a strong narrative carefully shaped by you. You won’t need a lot of convincing to do before people can buy into any of your new products.
So, if you don’t have a clue on how to take charge of the narrative while building your personal brand, here are some tips or strategies you should employ to get started.
Know your path and identify your goals
Every fruitful journey starts with a target destination. To take charge of the narrative about your brand, you must first identify where you’re headed with your brand, what are your goals and what would you like to achieve with your brand. Are you seeking to change careers or build one, release a new product, expand your company, or close financing for a huge project? Are you looking to recruit a powerful team to push your business onto the global stage? What exactly do you want to achieve with the brand you’re building? This is the first critical question you need to ask because it will help you understand how to shape an image to the public that attracts what you need.
Find out the needs in your industry
If you’re changing careers or expanding your business, one of the things you need to take into considerations to shape your narrative is the needs in the industry. This is not about putting down how good you are and how you’re going to solve every problem in the industry on paper. This is about discovering perennial or new needs in the industry that avails you the opportunity to break into the industry or climb the value ladder by adding value in those areas.
Discover where you are
Get an understanding of your present position relative to where you want to be. What is the gap between these two points and what do you need to do to fill up those gaps? One of the easiest ways to determine this is to ask about five or six people you spend time with to describe your brand. Then also throw it open to few other people you’ve had interactions with, distant acquaintances, and so on. This will help you gather information on the present narratives about you at different levels of interaction. With these, you can analyze your position and find out how to improve or make amends to fit in with your goal or the narrative you want people to have about your personal brand.
Get a hold on the right daily habits
Your daily habits have a lot to say about you and can impact people’s perceptions of you. How you dress, your manners, and your organization tell your story. Little things like the way you welcome people into your office, the warm handshake, or a cold smile can say a lot about who you are and indirectly, form an image of your personal brand. Put up the right habits that create good projections about you or your business.
Embrace your story and tell it yourself
Keeping off the public can indeed protect you from damaging your reputation. People go too far by shrinking their digital presence or use aliases to protect their reputation. That could work but for how long? Preventing the audience from knowing who you are or what you stand for can give room for different conclusions and misrepresentations. Therefore, it’s important to embrace your story and tell it yourself.
Come out of hiding, use social media platforms, share your ideas, proffer solutions to other people’s problems, reconnect with like-minded people who will eventually become your audience and allies. Just remember how to use basic common sense and good judgment when publishing your ideologies so you won’t divulge secrets or information about you that shouldn’t be in the public domain. Remember, the internet never forgets.
Make the Most of Technology to Shape Your Narrative
The internet is a place to get almost any information. People go to the internet to search for almost anything. That includes recruiters, people looking for specific products or services, and most of these searches are done on Google, and social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. So why stay in the dark?
Introduce yourself to these millions of people by putting up content about your brand just the way you want to be known. Let them see pictures of you, your videos, and what interests you. Leverage these technological tools, create your website, create professional profiles on these platforms and make sure your introduction copy is brief and to the point.
Authenticity is the key when it comes to building a personal brand in your narrative. Don’t try to copy or pretend to be someone else. People will know the difference. Present a sincere version of yourself, stay original but constantly find new ways to be creative.
In conclusion, taking charge of the narrative about your personal brand is easy if you engage your personal brand in a way that defines who you are. Do not wait for the public to do that for you. Come out from the shadows, share your ideas and content in a way that depicts who you are and what you intend to achieve. Gradually, you’ll get the right information about yourself out there.