Company brands are much more than just logos and color palettes. A brand determines how your customer base will think and feel about your organization. Your brand has the potential to elicit positive and negative reactions. For example, one brand might make you think of luxury and high status. It’s associated with a great quality product, but you may think poorly of the exorbitant price point.

Every association with your company name will have an effect on how consumers perceive your brand. From the causes you support to the music in your advertising and the types of customers you attract—all of these things contribute to how people perceive a company, and they culminate into a brand image.

The same rules apply when it comes to personal branding. To build your own brand, consider the same principles. How do others perceive your work and interactions with others? How memorable are you personally? In a way, this can seem like an easier kind of brand to maintain. You definitely have more control than you would over a corporate brand. But personal brands come with their own unique set of challenges. Here are 6 things to consider to ensure you are making the impact you want to make with your personal brand.

Why do YOU need a personal brand? 

Before building your personal brand, it’s important to define why you need one. You may think this is only important for entrepreneurs and social media influencers. But even if you are an employee in a corporate setting with a very stable job, your personal brand will determine your trajectory within that company. Your brand tells people how to interpret your potential for upward mobility and overall success. So although the following points are focused towards entrepreneurs, they apply for all professionals.

How do you define yourself?

Answering this question requires careful introspection and brutal honesty. Despite how tempting it is, avoid setting a definition to live up to. Brand yourself authentically—as who you currently are and not who you hope to be. Anything else will come off as a false persona and won’t be nearly as impactful as your honest definition of who you are at your core.

How are you different from your competition?

As you define your brand, it’s important to survey your competition. What is it that makes your value proposition unique compared to the rest of the market? This question ties in very closely with defining who you are. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Think visually to determine the unique colors, fonts, and designs that will accurately represent what makes you different.

Who is your audience, & why should they care about you?

Like in most business ventures, you must define your target audience before anything else, and this is no different for personal branding. However, the answer to this question is usually much clearer for a corporate brand than a personal one. Finding your target audience may take some trial and error, but the good news is that your brand is malleable and easily adjustable according to what you find works best over time. Who do you want to attract professionally? Who do you want to surround yourself with, and why would they want to surround themselves with someone like you?

What does your online presence look like?

Once you have a solid definition and picture of your brand in mind, do an audit of all your social media platforms. Remove content that is not consistent with who you are. Humans are dynamic beings. Change is inevitable, so be sure to update your online presence as you change over time. 

How consistent are you?

If you’ve defined your brand, this means you’ve spent time defining the values that are most important to you. Once you’ve done this, it’s important to put effort into making sure your words and actions align. If you say excellence is important to you, but your work is sloppy, there is a lack of consistency in word and deed. You can speak your values all you want, but it won’t be believable until your actions reflect them.

Just like for corporations, branding is powerful for the individual as well. In your next personal venture, consider these six questions to hone your style and impact by harnessing the power of personal branding.

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