Your Personal Brand

CrestIt used to be that only companies needed to worry about brand.  I think that statement is not entirely true.  I think that in the past only companies could afford to build their brand.  With all of the tools available to us today like social media, blogs and other free ways to “mass-merchandise” anything, we have the tools to create our own personal brands at little or no cost.

But what does it mean to build your own brand?  In the old days of family crests, the elements of the crest meant different things, different colors had different meanings and often one could tell the profession of the family by their crest.  These days our “crests” are our LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media profiles.  Our resume’, interests, hobbies and skills are all there for everyone to see.  Those things don’t tell the entire picture.  Blog posts are an excellent way for people to see what really inspires you.  Videos create a multi-sensory interaction that let people get to know you in a way written words rarely can.  Your online presence is your brand.  The more ways you give people to interact with you, the broader you make your brand.  The more content you post, the deeper your brand gets.

So why does this matter?  In my opinion, two ways.

First, and most obvious, building a personal brand helps us in our professional lives by giving substance to a flat resume’ or cover letter.  The more an potential employer can be “involved” with your online presence, the more likely your are to make a connection or generate interest.  In our personal lives it also makes it easy for others with similar interests to find us, opening the doors for friendships that may never have happened otherwise.

Second, and this one is more humbling, if we do not care for our brand it can have negative results.  Too many posts of late night parties tells it’s own story to a potential employer or even spouse.  I am not saying you should not post fun things.  What I am saying is that you should make sure that your online presence accurately portrays you, the whole you, as you want to be known by the world.  Sometimes this means filling in the gaps by making an extra effort to share non-fun things that you are interested in.

Lastly, building your personal brand should be fun, if you are working to hard at it, it probably isn’t a true picture of you.  In the end, just make sure you never post anything you wouldn’t want your mother to see, because she probably will.