When people think of personal brands they often think of actors, musicians, politicians – people in the limelight. They don’t often think about themselves.
The reality is that the way you look, how you behave, what you say and how you speak impacts how others see you, how they feel about you and their behaviour towards you. It affects your career, your employability and many other factors in your life.
Who you are (online and offline) equates to your personal brand and, because technology has advanced so much over the years, there is more about you in the public domain than ever before. All you need to do is search your name and a bit of information about yourself to see that.
Personal branding is all about building a brand around yourself. It’s about taking the opportunity to position yourself in a unique and positive way to help you succeed. Just like other brands do. Half the job of PR specialists is to prevent press from surfacing, yet it is an element of personal branding that is often overlooked or forgotten.
As well as being important for your own career development, it’s important for employers and organisations. More often than not, people buy people – so the better individuals present themselves, the more successful a business can become.
We can learn a lot from people in the limelight when it comes to developing our own personal brands. Here we’ve chosen three very different people of different ages who are regularly talked about or seen in the media, and looked at how they have developed their brands to help them progress. We can take some of these approaches and adapt them, where necessary, when we build on our own brands to help us succeed.
Kayla Itsines – Become a master in your field & build credibility
Aged only 24, Kayla Itsines has taken the world by storm with her Bikini Body Guide, aka #BBG.
She has built her brand on Instagram, which now boasts over five million followers.
Kayla has crafted a positive and motivational voice, which she uses to give her followers advice and encouragement. The internet has made it possible for her to establish herself as a real leader in the realm of health and fitness, share her knowledge and empower people by encouraging them to follow a healthier lifestyle.
By taking advantage of technology, social media has given her a platform to showcase her plan and her success, and helped her to build credibility. Perhaps even more powerful than her motivational posts and informative blogs are the voices of the people who use her plan. These are her brand advocates,strengthening that credibility and gaining peoples’ trust in what she stands for. They spread and strengthen the #BBG message and the Kayla brand.
???????? Who else wanted to cry during BBG arms today? Also, when did week 23 get here!? We finish BBG 2.0 next week ???? We’re thinking about jumping down to finish 1.0 for a third time before giving 2.0 another shot. That’s the amazing thing about these guides. You can do them over and over again and still see a change in definition, endurance, and strength each time. We’re curious, how have you ladies repeated the guides? #bbgarms #bbg #bbgprogress #bbggirls #bbgcommunity #bbgtrainingguide #bbgutah #bbg2 #bbg1 #bbgmoms #bbgsisters #bbgmotivation #fitspo #bbglife
A photo posted by @awkward.bbg.duo on
Focusing on your specialism and becoming a master – then getting others to actually back you up – is a very powerful thing. Trust and credibility mean everything in every element of branding – whether it is a person, a product or a business. Staying focused allows you to develop credibility in your area and to become a leader in that field. If you do it well enough, others will start doing it for you.
Donald Trump – Stand out from the crowd & be yourself
Loathe him or not, Donald Trump is one of the most talked-about people on the planet right now. We don’t all believe what he says or agree with it, but we all know who he is. The media absolutely love him and that’s because he creates intrigue – he evokes emotion and he is controversial. In a world where political candidates often look the same, sound the same and behave the same, Trump stands out.
Who did you notice more? pic.twitter.com/qr76hZ7wfH
— Ξxpherience (@Expherience) 25 February 2014
We wouldn’t urge anyone to behave like Trump, and we wouldn’t suggest people take his lead when it comes to posting on Twitter:
— Lenny Jacobson (@Lennyjacobson) 17 April 2015
But when competition is high, we need to find a way to stand out from the crowd – and that is something Trump does well.
Branding demands commitment; commitment to continual re-invention; striking chords with people to stir their emotions; and commitment to imagination. It is easy to be cynical about such things, much harder to be successful …
Queen Elizabeth II – Stay relevant & be consistent
This is something HRM the Queen has had to strive to achieve for over six decades – to be committed to her brand but, at the same time, stay relevant in a world that has dramatically changed. Her brand is constantly watched across the entire world.
She has had to reinvent herself but has done so whilst staying true to her ‘brand’. We have seen her reduce formalities over the years and support the younger royals in their more modern outlook on life.
If you can stay relevant to your target audience, people can connect with you. If you are consistent, people learn to trust you. If you achieve both of these things you can succeed.
This will probably be the last time you ever see Queen Elizabeth II, Donald Trump and Kayla Itsines mentioned in the same article but hopefully it’s demonstrated that regardless of age, industry, gender or role we all have a brand and an image we are projecting to the world.
If you’re finding it hard to get your head around your brand and what it is, a simple thing to remember is this:
If you aren’t already, make sure you give them something great to say!
A CEO in need of some advice when it comes to personal branding? Have a chat with us.