I’m a fervent believer in the value of cultivating and promoting one’s personal brand. I’ve put a fair amount of thought and effort into my own personal brand and reaped considerable benefits. If you want to advance your career in some way (whether it’s move up the proverbial ladder, get a new job, break away and go freelance, change careers, etc.) you should be investing in the cultivation and promotion of your personal brand as well.
But not everyone gets it. And as such, there are risks.
The main risk is that it (both your personal brand and your efforts at promoting it) is seen as inauthentic.
This is critical to understand. Your personal brand can’t be a fabrication. You’re not attempting to develop a false persona for yourself, even if the Internet gives you the ability to do so from behind a computer screen.
Here are 4 things to remember:
- You can be brazen. The Internet does afford you the opportunity to be bolder and braver; a lot of people have developed online personalities that are much more adventurous and outgoing than how they act in-person.
- But don’t lie. Lying to people and to yourself will never work. You might be stretching boundaries online, but if your in-person efforts and reality don’t closely mirror how you project yourself online, you won’t find the same level of real success. You’ll come off as inauthentic.
- Marketing is OK. Marketing isn’t a dirty word. Marketing yourself is OK. In fact, I recommend it. But a lot of people do consider “marketing” to be a dirty word; they think about irritating commercials online, or advertising that interrupts their day. They think “fake”. All the more reason your personal branding efforts need to be authentic and real.
- You don’t have to make excuses. If you want something, go get it. That’s pretty much how things work. So you shouldn’t feel bad or ashamed for trying to move forward and succeed.
- Personal branding isn’t cheesy. I’ll admit that when I say “personal brand” out loud a few times in a conversation it does sound a bit cheesy, but the principles behind developing and cultivating your brand do work. So get past the cheesiness of it.
Recently someone asked me, “Isn’t your personal brand just your reputation? And personal brand is just a new, silly buzzword?”
Not quite. I see your personal brand as an extension of your reputation. And I see you having more influence over your personal brand than over your reputation, in terms of how you promote and cultivate it.
But remember, there is potential to come across as inauthentic, and that can do serious damage.
For some great lessons and information on personal branding check out the book Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success by Dan Schawbel.
photo from a2gemma