Whether we own a business, do freelancing, or perhaps just work 9-5, one thing holds true for us all. We all have a certain personal brand. That is to say- perception of ourselves in the eyes of people who we provide value or service to. The image we work for every day.
With accelerating digitalization of the world, IT sector gets more and more crowded. And even though the demand is huge and landing a decently paid job is rather easy, standing out is not. It takes a lot of effort, self – awareness and a good strategy. This is why personal branding is literally becoming a new form of CV. This notion has been around for many years but only recently its importance has dramatically increased. With the tools internet offers nowadays, nearly anyone can develop a personal brand. Typically by offering some problem-solving content and building a following of people. The rest is good marketing and awareness of what we communicate to people.
Good personal brand opens a variety of work and business opportunities. Content creation along with a consistent online presence is nowadays an absolute must to play the game. Social media became more pervasive and business-oriented than ever. We are witnessing an emergence of a completely new form of self-promotion and reputation building. With the power modern social media channels have, you just cannot be careless about what you post anymore. Because what you convey has the power to leverage your personal brand or let it just be average and perish in the crowd. Consciously choosing the type of content you create and image you wish to create for the prospects, future employers or people you are looking to network with.
Word of mouth
As a natural consequence of your personal brand having a regular exposition on social media and internet in general, you might start seeing the benefits of opportunities coming your way naturally. That is something called “word of mouth”. The reason for that is that people like to simplify and label things. When we see something happen several times, our brain will ask for a label for what it sees. For those who are aware of how to create a trustworthy, positive image, this information is gold. “You attract what you are” as the saying goes. Having an explicitly calibrated personal brand will help you attract like-minded people. They might wish to connect with you just for the sake of who you are as a person.
Another crucial aspect of having an established personal brand is a phenomenon called reputation migration. For those who are not familiar with the term, a quick word of explanation. Let’s say you are a business owner or a freelancer working with a brand that is more recognizable than your own. What you will likely experience is the unwritten law of reputation transference. That being said, people will subconsciously start to attribute the positive values and status of the other company to yours. So, a little bit of bragging in your portfolio does not only help you build a social proof. It also amplifies the status of your personal brand in the eyes of followers and watchers.
Last but not least, being a person “on a mission” and having a “higher purpose” is very strictly tied to the process of creating a personal brand. Purpose-orientation creates a unique opportunity to position yourself as an ambassador of certain qualities. Only this will already set you apart from the big chunk of competitors, who are not aware of their direction in business or career. Because if the content you create, along with your brand’s image, is too wishy-washy it will vastly diminish your potential for the future growth and clients. Therefore, I will stress it again, you need to have a clear message of your personal or business goal.
My intention behind writing this post is to open people’s eyes. The concept of personal branding is relatively new (it’s said to be introduced by Tom Peters’ article in 1997) but it’s gaining on the importance incredibly fast. If you are an insightful observer, you might be noticing a certain trend. It is that modern business and marketing are getting closer and closer to people. That is to say, orientation for problem-solving combined with a tailored approach. Personal branding in the light of that fact emerges as a tool moving the burden of building trust from a depersonalized company to an individual having human traits. How it can be put to use, depends on your intent and personal mission. As every tool, it can contribute to great things- if you use it properly.