The benefits of self-branding vary from person to person. You build your brand, which means you can tailor it toward a specific goal or objective. It serves your unique needs. But there are a few ways in which simply having a brand can help you as you grow your career. Keep in mind, these benefits are associated with positive personal brands. If your brand goes off track, then you won’t necessarily achieve the desired outcomes.

INFLUENCE

We create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. Billions of pieces of content. Included in that are professional bios, résumés, About Us pages, personal websites, emails, social media posts, news articles, webinars, blog posts, and instant messages. The list goes on. The point is, it’s becoming harder and harder for the average professional to be heard above the noise, at least online.

But a brand is different. A brand can develop an image and voice that, over time and with consistent messaging, becomes wholly its own. By developing a personal brand, you differentiate yourself from the billions of others clamoring for a piece of the world’s attention. And a brand that differentiates itself is a brand that wields influence.

Consider the example of Oprah. She was able to build her empire by embodying a specific set of values that she upheld over and over again. She delivered value in multiple layers. And by being transparent about her intentions, she carved out a space in broadcast television. There’s only one Oprah—her brand is utterly unique, it drives conversation, it persuades others to explore her point of view, and, ultimately, it creates profit. It’s unlikely many of us will develop a personal brand as powerful as Oprah’s, but nevertheless she is a great example of how far a strong personal brand can take you in work—and in life.

ADAPTABILITY

It seems as if every day another article is published on some radical shift in the way we work. From artificial intelligence and automation to the rise of the gig economy, what it means to be an employee is in constant flux, which means that we have to keep reinventing ourselves over and over again.

Reinvention is easier when you’re actively engaged in brand building. Developing a personal brand starts with identifying a persona, an inventory of your qualities, some careful planning, and then specific and ongoing action. When the market shifts, when priorities change, the self-brander simply changes the plan. By being tapped into your values, by knowing your strengths and weaknesses, you can more easily pivot to find what works best in the context of the market.

NARRATIVE

People connect with stories. A personal brand takes what’s on your résumé or LinkedIn page and crafts a narrative, which provides detail that a list of previous jobs and degrees simply can’t capture—things like intent, drive, priorities, leadership capacity, and proactivity.

A brand narrative is something you can take into any interview or networking event; it captures attention instantly and quickly and efficiently provides dimension and context. Later in this chapter, we’ll walk through creating that narrative.

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