In my teaching and recruiting, I am amazed at how few individuals have consciously built their personal Brand. I guess it’s because they don’t think of themselves as a Brand.
The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a "name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.” I believe it is more than this. It is the sum of all the characteristics, personalities, behaviors and associations made with goods and services that differentiate them, either positively or negatively, that include tangibles and intangibles like openness, quality, caring, trust, social consciousness, reliability and follow through. Brands simplify choices.
Whether you know it or not, you are a Brand, just like a company, because people have already formed opinions of you. And, those aware of you have already differentiated you. The question is, “Are you in control of these perceptions?” If not, you had better start thinking about it and start controlling it. When someone Google’s you, what comes up? Nothing? Something? Is it good or is it questionable? Same thing with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube? What kinds of pictures come up?
Are your pictures showing you partying or are you doing something socially redeeming? What about your narratives? Are your conversations negative or positive? Stand back and look at all of your communications objectively. Do you see someone that is mature, positive, a problem solver, and someone that will make or is making a positive difference? Or, do you see someone that is immature, negative, a complainer and a poor influence on others? All of your Social Media conversations and pictures are out there forever.
Whatever you have done to date, it isn’t too late to alter your image. You can change the tone of your conversations to be more constructive and your pictures to be more inspiring. Your future content will begin to dominate your old content and you will become a changed person. Importantly, you need to think about how you want to be perceived, so you can build and reinforce this image. For those with a positive image, keep reinforcing your image and broaden your base.