Personal Branding: Become the star of your own story

Think of some of the best brands in the world: Coca Cola and Apple. These brands embody a certain identity, personality and a set of values.

Building a brand is not just important for companies alone. It is a vital part of being a successful professional – especially in the saturated marketing industry. Building your personal brand should help you stand out from the crowd.

“Marketing skills can naturally be used for a manager’s own image. All managers have a personal brand manage. Unfortunately, most managers are not fully aware of what this image means, which may result in poor career development,” said the Assistant Professor in Marketing at University College Dublin, Dr Markus Vanharanta.

You need your own personal brand to uphold – and it is this brand that will send a message to other professionals and companies about who you are, your capabilities and what you represent. After all, business relationships are formed because businesses like to work with people they trust and believe in. Essentially, personal branding makes relationships stronger and more valuable.

Leading personal brand consultant in Singapore Andrea Edwards said: “Your brand should also be strong enough so that your company won’t make you redundant, and if they do, other companies will come scrambling to get you.”

How exactly do you do that? “First, you have to realise that you have to take control of your voice and your perception in the market. You also have to become a powerhouse influencer in your area of expertise,” said Ms Edwards, who is also the founder and CEO of The Digital Conversationalist, a strategic training consultancy in social leadership and content marketing strategy.

Ms Edwards’ personal brand is strong enough such that she receives a constant flow of job offers and outreach from recruiters and companies. She has also launched her own business off the back of personal brand – which is thoroughly represented in her blog.

Below are several steps you can take to build your own personal brand.

Your personal branding story 

Before you start going all out on your social media profiles to build your brand, you need to do one thing first. “You need to define your personal branding story,” said Ms Edwards. Businesses often want to know the stories behind the people they work with. This way, they feel more comfortable and trust is built.

To build a good personal brand story, you need to ask yourself what is it you want to be known for. Do you want to be the marketing expert in the tech industry? Do you want to be the thought leader when it comes to social impact marketing?

“It doesn’t matter what it is but it is critical to come up with the big theme on what you want to be known for and then focus all of your personal branding efforts around this theme,” said Ms Edwards, who was also a former director at Content Marketing agency Novus Asia. It is also important that you remain authentic while telling your brand story.

LinkedIn:  The best platform to help you tell your story

These days, there are many social media platforms where you could possibly build your brand. But nothing is quite like LinkedIn for professionals so it is ultimately the best personal branding platform to invest your time in. After all, this is where all the 450 million professionals along with big brands, and employers go to. Your future employer may very well reach out to you on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn require a lot of effort and time – but we break it down for you here.

Let’s start with the basics. First you need a great LinkedIn photo. Ms Edwards recommends a clean, professional, simple background and one that is cropped close to your face. Next, you have to spend time on your LinkedIn title, which appears under your name. After your name and photo, your title is the first thing people see. While it is usually automatically populated with your current job title, you can do so much more than that.

“Your title is your chance to tell your story. I highly recommend using common search words for your field. For the marketing industry, some keywords you can include are strategic marketer, analytical, and industry commentator. Use those search words that make it easier for the relevant people to find you, get creative and tell a mini-story,” said Ms Edwards.

Ms Edwards also recommended spending time on your summary. She said: “I recommend you write it in first person and use this space to tell your whole story. Don’t write about your career. Instead, use the summary to help people get to know you, your interests, your favourite causes and other things that you may find important.

The work does not end after sprucing up your LinkedIn profile. You have to make a commitment to being active on LinkedIn – but do not overdo it either. Ms Edwards recommend a maximum of twice a day.

So what do you post on LinkedIn? Great, engaging information of course. But that is easier said than done. To help make your life a little easier, find five sites you rely on for information and subscribe to their newsletters. Then you will be able to easily find great content to share on your LinkedIn profile.

Personal branding is a great investment 

Ms Edwards said: “A personal brand is a powerful investment to make in yourself. It delivers many benefits and enables you to reach out the right people.”

In order to build your brand successfully, it is also important to help others build theirs, said Ms Edwards. It also ensures you remain visible. So go ahead and comment on and share your peers’ blogs and engage in meaningful conversation. Chances are you will learn something and build a better brand for yourself along the way.

Start branding yourself and end up branding others. Enrol in the University College Dublin’s (UCD) Bachelor of Business Studies (Honours) in Marketing (Full-time), Bachelor of Business Studies (Honours) in Marketing (Part-time) or Master of Science In Marketing (Part-time).