By Ian Altman
You may be wondering: why should I care about my personal brand, especially if I work for someone else? Well, in short, your personal brand portrays who you are and how you add value to the world. Therefore, your personal brand can have a huge impact on your success, or hold you back if it is not developed. In a recent interview with Ryan Rhoten, he shared how your personal brand can accelerate sales. He also generously offered four essential steps you can take to successfully build your personal brand.
What Is Your Personal Brand?
Rhoten is an expert on helping people build their personal brand. He explains that your personal brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.
Your personal brand differentiates you from others. Every time you do something, say something, or post something online, people are deciding if they trust you and want to do business with you.
Rhoten says there are two pieces to your personal brand. The first piece is who you are at your core – your personal strengths and what attracts you fundamentally. That first piece is your persona when you walk down the hallway. You can’t do much to control that innate message.
The second piece is what he calls personal branding – which is how you can be intentional about telling the world who you are and the value you add to it.
Why Your Personal Brand Matters
The biggest mistake Rhoten sees is that people don’t realize (or in some cases they don’t even believe) that they have a personal brand – especially if they work within a company. This mistake can be detrimental to your success with customers, your career, and, quite frankly, with anything you do in business.
Like it or not, you have a brand that others see. It’s your brand that differentiates you from everyone else; it builds trust and rapport with others. Customers want to do business with people they like, trust, and respect.
As your role with today’s customers continues to evolve, so does your responsibility to deliver more value to prospects and customers. Building a personal brand is one way to stand out from the crowd as that trusted advisor. If you don’t define your brand, others will define it for you.
How To Build A Personal Brand
Many people do not have the self-awareness to recognize what ethos they give off to other people that can help either establish trust or distrust. Your brand precedes you; it comes in the door with you and is already established.
Until you are aware of your brand, you can’t really control it. Once you become intentional and aware, you can take concrete steps to impact how others perceive you.
To create your personal brand, Rhoten recommends using a four-step process: DICE – Discover, Integrate, Create content and Engage. Rhoten explains that the DICE process gives you confidence by focusing on your strengths, not your weaknesses.
Uncover and define what your brand is today, so others don’t do it for you. By focusing on your strengths and the work towards which you naturally gravitate, you’ll see that you are an expert, and others will start to recognize it too. Once you know who you are, then you establish for what you are known. Finding your strengths is a critical step to this, as shared by Lisa Cummings on a recent episode.
If your online and off-line comments are in conflict, your audience won’t work to decode the difference. They just won’t trust you. If you act consistently with what you say, then this shouldn’t be a challenge to delivering a consistent brand.
Leverage your knowledge and expertise to grow your influence in your niche. Provide education through content. Honest content allows professionals to establish themselves as an expert, trusted resource within a specific niche.
Use the power of social media to amplify your reputation. Rhoten reminds us to use social media for conversations, not just for connections and one-way broadcasts.
Key To Success
Whether you’re looking to build your personal brand to drive success in sales or your career, it’s important to remember you must be true to your brand and not the brand that you think other people want you to have. Be you; be authentic to yourself, and not something that you are not. Authenticity comes with sacrifice. An authentic personal brand will attract those who share your views, and will repel those who are not a good fit. Top performers recognize the value of turning away those who are not aligned with your thinking.
It’s Your Turn
Who do you admire as someone who has established a strong personal brand, based on integrity? Join the conversation in the comments or on Twitter or LinkedIn.