The Five Principles of Developing a Personal Brand

If hearing the term “personal brand” makes you cringe, it’s time to rethink your view of self-promotion. Building a personal brand doesn’t have to feel uncomfortable; instead, it can be a way for you to feel confident about who you are and what you want. Great personal branders proactively develop their brand to promote their ideas, passions and the value they offer to others. Here’s five principles of developing a personal brand you should consider to follow in their footsteps and take control of your reputation:

1. Know yourself.
A big component of developing a personal brand is stepping back to evaluate who you are and identify what you want to accomplish. Ask yourself the following questions:
• What are your five core values?
• What do you do in your free time?
• What work do you most enjoy?
• What do you aspire to do?
• What are five positive attributes that describe you?
Use your answers to these questions to develop an interesting brand story that incorporates your values, passions and personal attributes. Then, when you’re ready, take the best of who you are and put it out there.

2. Give yourself time.
You’re not going to have a recognizable personal brand overnight; give yourself time to build up your values, passions and mission in the public sphere. Be intentional about matching who you are with what you do by writing blog posts, using related hashtags, or discussing only a few of the topics you care about. Go slowly with your efforts and remember that you can’t create a well-defined personal brand if you don’t work at it.

3. Be consistent.
Always stay on message and remember what your topics are. Think about what you want to be known for (your support of a specific cause, knowledge of an industry, passion about a movement, etc.) and be consistent in how you talk about these subjects. Most importantly, make sure that your actions in your personal and professional lives align with what you’re communicating.

4. Be authentic.
Incorporate your passions and values into your daily online and offline interactions. The people who have built a successful personal brand aren’t necessarily naturals at branding. Most of them simply understand the importance of authenticity. Sharing aspects of your personal life or beliefs initially may be a challenge for you. By determining the aspects of your personal life you’re comfortable talking about, you’ll recognize the difference between sharing what is vulnerable and safe keeping what is intimate. Through your authenticity, you will positively impact people’s view of you and your reputation.

5. Be memorable.
Being memorable isn’t about being the funniest, loudest or most opinionated. It’s about making a positive impression on the people you encounter so that they leave an interaction with you interested in learning more. Through your personal brand, you can demonstrate your work habits and highlight the opportunities you’re seeking to achieve career growth. You won’t be able to make an impression on everyone you meet, but by communicating your strengths and determining what you’re comfortable discussing, you can establish yourself as a social authority on the topics you care about.

Tell us on Twitter: How are you working on your personal brand?

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Emily Knippa

Emily Knippa is a St. Louis-based marketer and writer who focuses on content marketing, career development, and personal finance. She enjoys meeting people pursuing inspiring career paths. She’d love to meet you at the next United Way event. Say hello to Emily on Twitter at @emilyknippa.