I am pretty sure that you've heard this buzz term personal branding. So, what is it exactly? Well, it is defined as the practice of marketing yourself and career as a brand, according to Wikipedia. Let's talk a bit more about what it is and how you can build a successful personal brand.
YOUR BRAND IS YOUR IDENTITY
You are your brand and your brand is you. There is no separation between the two. Hey, that rhymed! On a serious note, personal branding is a professional representation of who you are and what you represent. Therefore, you have to be true to yourself. If you try to create a fake persona, you'll get busted. People can spot a phony or as we say in New York City, a Fugazi- slang for fake. Not good if, your goal is to:
Present a brand that represents your personality and skill set
Build your professional reputation
Land a position in your career field that is right for you
Why live a double life?! You are awesome enough to be you, flaws and all!
One of my favorite personal mantras is " I am unapologetically opinionated and I don't give a care because when I speak, I talk facts!". Therefore, people know that with me, what they see is what they get. It's sass, but with class. So, If you are a no-nonsense person or you are super bubbly, feel comfortable to show that side of yourself. Remember, there will always be someone who won't like you and that is okay. Don't ever change your principles or your habits to cow-tow to anyone's expectations. My brand is sleek, clean and precise, which is a summation of who I am personally and professionally. Your personal brand should reflect your qualities in person and on paper.
U-N-I-T-Y - UNITY
I am reminded of Queen Latifah's hit from the 90's on this one because all aspects of your brand must come together. The key to making that happen is CONSISTENCY, I cannot stress this enough! Let me share a professional anecdote about this so that you can get a clear idea of what I mean.
I remember when I first got into the industry, I wanted to work with LANVIN. This was a company seemed dormant for a while, had risen to popularity again at that time. It is one of the original French brands and I connected with the brand vibe of elegance and sophistication.When I applied for the market week position as a stylist/dresser with LANVIN, I presented a clean and elegant looking resume. On the day I met with the hiring manager, I wore a dress that was true to my personal style. During the interview, she made it a point to compliment my attire and said "Wow, you fit our brand image perfectly! You look like you already work here. Well, I got the job on the spot!
I said all of that, to say this; your personal brand is a trifecta. It is your qualifications on paper, your personality and presentation. The UNITY of these things is what ties your personal brand together. This means that when someone meets you in person everything about who you say you are on your resume and social media presence should line up which includes your appearance and the way you speak.
You can't go into an interview at SAKS 5th Avenue wearing an ill fitting ensemble with bright green hair and refer to things of disdain as "totally gnarly". On the other hand, if you wanted to work for a brand like Rag & Bone or Opening Ceremony that would be completely fine. Remember, your goal is to work at a company where you will feel comfortable. A place where you will enjoy working because you can be yourself whether you have hot pink hair or style your dark tresses in a chignon. Your personal brand is you!
What do you think about personal branding? Share your thoughts and questions below or send me an e-mail Kemal@KemalForrester.com Don't forget, every Monday I answer questions on my Q & A W/KAY section of the site.