As it happens, it’s hard to get through the day without someone mentioning the need to ‘build your brand’. I agree completely. And this looks different for every person. You need to carefully identify how you want to build your profile and be very strategic about how you do it. And don’t forget, your brand is far more than just a good bio and profile picture. You need to think about how your brand connects to your core values and interests. So where to start?
- Keep in mind consistency. Essentially you should apply a lens on everything you do to ensure what you’re posting, doing and saying about yourself publicly aligns with how you want your brand to be perceived. It’s no different than the principles of a successful retail brand. Consider not only your social media channels and networking opportunities but your everyday conversations and interactions with family, colleagues and strangers. What do you want to be known for?
- Edit yourself. You are building your own brand based on everyday touchpoints. Discipline is a major factor in the process – the ‘less is more’ approach often works well. Put yourself in the place of your external audience and think about the things you’d like to improve, change or keep doing the same. The construction of your brand takes time and diligence.
- Continue to evolve. One thing that sometimes falls off the radar is the constant need to progress and advance your personal brand. Specifically in the communications business, it’s important to be nimble and engaged to keep your brand fresh.
As a public figure, Michelle Obama has achieved this flawlessly. Yes, she is equipped with an army of handlers but clearly her instincts prevail. Over the past seven plus years she has remained committed to her campaign of keeping kids active and combatting childhood obesity while engaging in opportunities that have enhanced her persona of a modern, brilliant, relatable parent and leader with a sense of humour – all important tenets of her brand. On a more local level, Canadian media personalities like Susie Wall and Tommy Smythe have successfully built their brands by not only leveraging their public channels, but by being consistent, unique and yet always relevant.
My advice is to evaluate and evolve your own profile and make sure it’s a proper expression of what you want to say. Your brand is a carefully curated collection of experience, values, affiliations and behaviours.
So what are you thinking about for your brand in 2017?
Tara also is the recipient of the Canadian Progress Club’s Women of Excellence Award in Communications and Public Affairs. Follow her on Twitter @twickwire or Instagram @tarawickwire.