"Effective personal branding isn’t about putting on a show or figuring out how to do as little work as possible while getting the most financial reward. Life is too short not to be the best possible version of yourself."
With a tagline that promises to show the reader “how to become everyone’s first contact”, Getting to Like emphasises the importance of personal branding and how it can be leveraged to develop professional recognition, grow your business and achieve greater financial success.
Written by Jeremy Goldman, founder and CEO of award-winning futureproofing firm Firebrand Group, and Ali B. Zagat, who has worked as a writer, editor and content strategist for a number of world-renowned brands, these two writers understand the power of personal branding, and use a variety of examples and case studies to illustrate how it can be successfully identified and managed.
Throughout the book, Getting to Like examines all facets of personal branding including how to keep your branding engaging and consistent across a range of social media platforms, how to recover from a branding disaster, and how to measure the success of your personal brand, and maintain your brand over time.
The Big Idea
Writing your Personal Brand Statement
"You’re not defined by your job title or day-to-day responsibilities. You’re a brand as much as Coke, Nike, or Cover Girl. Ask yourself the same question that brand managers of companies ask themselves: How is my product or service different?"
As obvious as it may seem, the first step to developing and promoting your personal brand is to understand what your personal brand actually is.
In order to position yourself as exceptional or distinct, it is crucial to understand your unique traits and abilities, and how these factors can be utilised in a professional setting.
Goldman and Zagat suggest that writing a Personal Brand Statement allows you to create a general framework for how you define yourself, including your personality, your accomplishments, your flaws and how you interact with others.
To start creating your Personal Brand Statement, ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I do that adds remarkable, measurable and distinctive value?
- What have I done as recently as this week to make myself distinct?
- What have I accomplished that I can be unabashedly proud of?
- What would my colleagues and customers say is my greatest strength?
- What is my most noteworthy personal trait?
- Ultimately, what do I want to be known for?
Once you’ve written down your answers, condense your response into 15 words or less. This statement should be attention grabbing and intriguing to your prospective audience, and may take time to develop and refine. This will be your Personal Branding Statement, and will help you to stay focused as your career moves forward.
The Risks of Being Inauthentic
"Personal brands are a constructed entity, but that’s okay. It doesn’t mean they’re fake. You can highlight certain parts of your personality or character in order to present a solid image; that doesn’t make them less true."
When many people think about creating a personal brand, they often view it as inventing a whole new persona, and as a result they may view branding as being deceitful and inauthentic.
Personal branding is about creating a condensed version of your personality, interests and core values, or as Goldman and Zagat call it “You-Concentrate”.
Your brand is your reputation, and your reputation forms the foundation for your entire career. Creating a personal brand that doesn’t align with who you really are is a recipe for disaster. You audience will notice the inconsistencies between you and your brand, they will feel misled and you will lose credibility, which may damage your brand permanently.
Deception may seem advantageous in the short-term, especially if you lack the skills or abilities to achieve your career goals, however as time passes it will become more difficult to keep up with the contradictions between yourself and your brand.
So if you run a vegan cooking blog but enjoy going hunting on the weekends, or run a travel agency but you’ve never left your hometown, expect your audience to notice that you don’t practice what you preach.
Revising your Brand and Yourself
"Maybe you tried to market yourself as one thing and it didn’t work out. Or you might be a retiree reentering the workforce, or trying to add new skills to stay relevant. Now, who or what are you? How do you want to reinvent yourself?"
Whether you’re changing positions at your current workplace, starting your own business, or looking for a new job, people change and with that, careers change.
As your career progresses through time, you may reach various points where aspects of your personal brand are no longer relevant to you, or you may want to reinvent your brand completely.
While transitioning a personal brand can come with many challenges, Goldman and Zagat highlight a range of ways you can revise your brand over time, including:
- Taking a class
- Joining a board
- Job shadowing
- Going on sabbatical
These activities can help shift your focus, and can help you examine other areas that you may be interested in or skilled at. These new discoveries can help you add a new spin to your current brand or even identify a new direction for your career.