Posted by Isaac C. Mwiya
Coca-Cola, Apple, Google, Barclays, Kalusha Bwalya, Dambisa Moyo and Master Chimbala: what do these organizations and individuals have in common? They each have a strong brand. Whenever any of these names is mentioned we know what to associate them with and what they stand for. A brand is what distinguishes one thing from another. Your brand is what other people think of and say about you.
“Social media is changing the way we communicate and the way we are perceived, both positively and negatively. Every time you post a photo, or update your status, you are contributing to your own digital footprint and personal brand.”~Amy Jo Martin
How then do you build a strong personal brand in the digital space?
1. Define your niche
When there are many birds in a tree it is tempting to go after all of them. Guess what happens when you do that: you don’t catch any! Pick your bird and run with it. What do you want to be known for and associated with? If you want to create a strong brand you cannot be a Jack of all trades. Pick an area you want to be known for and become an expert in that.
2. Stand out
You don’t want to be “just one of the guys”. Present yourself in a manner that sets you apart from the crowd. Don’t make the mistake of being a copycat! Your personal brand must be unique. Think of how unique your mother’s cooking is. Now that is a brand! Personal branding is not just about what you do: it is also how you do it.
3. Deliver on the promise
Whenever you buy your favourite soft drink there is a particular experience you expect to get from it. It is the same with your brand. Your brand is a promise to the customer. Make sure to deliver on it all the time. If, by any means, you are unable to deliver to your customer’s expectations communicate.
4. Look the part
If you are a consultant look like a consultant (both online and in person). Your grooming says a lot about how seriously you take your personal brand.
5. Network and build relationships
Whenever you are online remember that you are dealing with human beings-not gadgets! Be human. Work on building relationships. People do business with people they like and trust.
6. Be consistent
Consistency is key in personal branding. You don’t want to create a shifting brand. No one will take you seriously if you are jumping from one thing to the other all the time. Pick your niche and stick with it.
7. Be yourself
Branding is not about putting up a false front. It is about bringing out your unique self. Your online brand should be a portrayal of who are. Be yourself. Why? Because every one else is already taken.
8. Watch your content
Anything you put out in the digital space either enhances or diminishes your personal brand. Another thing to remember is that whatever you put online is ‘public’ and permanent. Do not just think about now. How is your online image going to help you in future when you want to go into consultancy or maybe run for public office. Don’t create an image that will haunt you in future!
From today onwards begin to think of yourself as a brand-because that is what you are. Every person is a brand. Everything you say and do (and the way you say and do them) adds up to create a brand called YOU. Your personal brand is your greatest asset: nurture it like a mother and protect it like a father.