When I graduated university and joined the corporate rat race, I became an ardent disciple of the theory of personal branding. It had less to do with self-adulation and me trying to find my niche, and more to do with nurturing an ambitious drive and the desire to stand out in a relatively homogeneous crowd. The world was my oyster and I wanted to be that shiny pearl inside.
I started to learn that similar to any successful brand, there is a science behind how you show up, what value you bring, and how you remain true to your original self in a world of clones. I also discovered that as your brand gains momentum, you’ll find yourself building a little tribe of brand advocates — friends, family, colleagues, and mentors who will be your biggest promoters and the best marketing money can’t buy.
Fast forward several years. I’m now in a corporate strategy role where I’m tasked with building a plan to integrate a relatively new industry trend into our area of business. This means building my credibility as an industry expert, publicizing the many benefits of said trend, making sure our approach stands out in the sea of sameness, and growing my team of early adopters and supporters for long-term success.
Someone once said to me, “Whatever your personal brand is, OWN it. Own it till you bleed it, so that when you show up, you don’t need to pretend to be someone you’re not.”
Given our increasingly crowded digital landscape, personal branding for professional gain has earned its rightful place in the life of any influencer. Your brand goes well beyond a pretty website and a nicely-designed logo. Your brand is your thought leadership, your social visibility, your value proposition, your support system, your benevolence and willingness to share and learn and grow.
Your brand is you. And if you build it, they will come.