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10 Easy Steps toward a New Professional You

By Kate

Every single time the song “My Heart Will Go On” plays on the radio, you would certainly remember the voice behind that melodramatic ballad and the movie it represents. The song has this unique contradicting feels; it is gentle but powerful, subtle and fierce all at once. It allows you to traverse the series of unfortunate events that led to a disastrous fate of what was known then as the “ships of dreams” and the “unsinkable” and all the emotions that came with it. Perhaps, you cried, you laughed and ultimately you fell in love with Jack and Rose. You can also never disregard Celine Dion’s powerful vocals that gave life and so many emotions to the song. As such, everyone in the world agrees on this ratio: Celine Dion is to My Heart Will Go On and My Heart Will Go On is to Titanic. Along with the tremendous success of the movie is also the solidification of Celine Dion’s status as an international superstar which placed her in the pedestal of the legends in music along with Mariah Carey and the late Whitney Houston and all other legendary musicians. Powerful vocals, melodramatic repertoire, grace and stamina, all these made Celine Dion the reigning queen of Melodramatic Ballads. This is personal branding.

 

Personal branding is all about how people will remember you or what people associate you with. To make it simple, this is your own mark in this world and this mark is the quantification of all your knowledge, skills and attitude. What you know, what you are capable of doing and how you do things are all equally imperative in establishing a successful personal brand. Personal branding is a very useful tool in achieving competitive advantage may it be in your personal or professional endeavors. Competitive advantage is all about creating a distinction between yourself, and not just simply a distinction but how you will become preferable out of the many who are also into the same craft as you do. Apart from change, competition is also another thing that is inevitable. Remember your anatomy lessons? Particularly on how you became the successful cell to become a human being? We are born out of competition and in this constant competition with one another, the question is, how will you emerge triumphantly? Personal branding is one of the keys.

 

Why Should You Build Your Personal Brand

A couple of decades back, establishing a “brand” was only necessary for business organizations may it be small or big as a means to differentiate themselves from their competition. Today, anyone has the ability to create his or her own brand. How? The internet has given everyone a free platform to become content creators, and, in effect, our own brands.

Looking back at the success of Celine Dion, she managed to take a brand she’s cultivated via her talent, musical skills, personality and attitude and turn herself into a music legend and a profitable name in the entertainment industry both as an artist and as an entrepreneur. With Celine as our example, it’s established that personal branding is important for a number of reasons. It provides a clear focus for personal development while establishing yourself as a thought leader. It also works wonders for career success, allowing individuals to pursue whatever it is that they’re passionate about. The mutual relationship between career success and personal branding is a truly unique dynamic that, when understood, has the potential to launch a person to new heights.

 

How to Build Your Own Personal Brand

1. Get a Professional Headshot - Personal branding requires constant effort and commitment, and for most of us, it is a disconcerting task: having to expose oneself out in the open is not easy. Sometimes, we don’t even truly understand how our persona affects our brand. Plastering one’s photo on a website is even more disconcerting, and that is why we often omit our headshot from our business website. Professional photographers can help you get a head start on your personal branding efforts by guiding you and by creating images you will actually be proud of images that represent who you truly are. While you may still have issues reconciling how you, as a human being going about your life, is affecting your business image, a professional photographer might be the answer to your quest to successful personal branding. Whether for a social profile or your company’s website, the quality and style of your headshot convey a lot about you as a person and signals how you conduct business. An outdoor shot in casual attire conveys a very different sense than a portrait in a business suit against a solid color backdrop. The type of photo that’s right for your business is a branding decision, but regardless of the business you are in, a blurry or poorly cropped picture conveys a sense a sloppiness and a lack of attention to detail that carries over to your organization’s reputation.

 

2. Be Discoverable Online - You need to get your online presence in order so that as people are becoming familiar with you and inevitably seeking out more information about you, they get a positive and consistent impression. Personal branding focuses on building three key attributes; you want your personal brand to become: discoverable, shareable and memorable. Each personal branding activity in which you invest your time and effort should serve one of those three objectives.

3. Have a Professional Purpose - Your purpose is your higher calling — from the sages to the mountains to the higher power that controls you in a way that is freeing and liberating. Ask yourself why are you doing this? What’s the reason you’re doing this that will keep you showing up consistently over time? We all have different motives, so it’s important to understand yours. Know your mission and live & breathe it daily. People tend to assess your professional values, integrity, and ethics.  Your personal brand can act as a “promise” of how you will conduct business and reflect the mission and core values of a company. Have a sense of purpose. Know what qualities you bring to the table, and be sure you know exactly how to articulate these characteristics in a clear and concise manner.

4. Learn to Listen and Practice Empathy - Who you are is more than just what you say. Take the time to listen. Strike the balance between what you know and what you have yet to learn or understand.

5. Practice Writing - Getting an "in" with the media, online publishers and publications can prove challenging. However, it is a powerful way to show that you know what you're talking about. Every outlet you build a connection with increases your brand authority. Whether you’re writing online or in print, the way you write affects your personal brand. The way you express yourself is key to whether you impress your colleagues, bosses, and clients. So build your brand with writing that shows your value and helps you advance.

6. Re-engineer Your Digital Presence - Reengineering your digital presence means creating many of the conditions of a startup—the sense of freedom, flexibility, and creativity—but at the scale and with the discipline of a large enterprise. You bring together cross-functional teams who can ideate, bring to life, and execute a truly digital user experience. You take a customer-centric approach to everything your company does—including innovation, user experience (UX) design, marketing, promotions, sales, operations, and customer service. You convey a distinctive brand identity and emotional connection that’s present in storefronts, websites, smartphones, connected devices such as high-tech fitness wristbands—and forms of interaction still being conceived. You use big data and analytics in all their forms to deploy insights from customers in real time, designing and marketing products and services that respond instantly after sensing and analyzing what people do online (and off). Reimagining your business also means continually measuring and testing the impact of these products and services, and learning from the results.

 

7. Analyze Your Competitors - The competitive analysis is a statement of the business strategy and how it relates to the competition. The purpose of the competitive analysis is to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the competitors within your market, strategies that will provide you with a distinct advantage, the barriers that can be developed in order to prevent competition from entering your market, and any weaknesses that can be exploited within the product development cycle.

8. Craft Your Personal Branding Statement - Writing a personal branding statement is a lot like creating a branding statement for a company, product or a service. The big difference is you are crafting it from a personal angle because it's about you. Your personal branding statement will be unique to you and if written correctly it will clearly describe what you do and who you serve. A personal branding statement also helps to drive name recognition. Name recognition has a lot of power, use your personal branding statement to help you stand out from the crowd and create name recognition when it comes to you and your brand. 

 

9.  Embrace and Expound Your Experience - Storytelling is all the rage. More and more brands are comprehending the power of stories to transform their presence and identity. There is a good reason for the popularity of stories among brands, businesses, and individuals. Stories are a powerful tool in human communication. Research indicates that the human brain responds to the descriptive power of stories in deeply affecting ways, influencing both the sensory and motor cortex. To read a story is to feel an experience and to synchronize our minds with the subject of the story.

 

10. Be Social by Design - The first thing that one should remember in being social by design is to get your social infrastructure right. Your profiles (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter) need to be discoverable, they need to have the right security settings activated and it needs to be easy for someone to interact with you, understand immediately what you are about, and share whatever you are trying to get out there. Second is to create a great content. This goes without saying, but if you’re active on social and digital channels you need to have something of value to say and learn to say it well. The third is optimize your speaking engagements. One of the best ways to get your ideas out into your industry is by pitching to speak at conferences within your niche. Fourth is to be social even when out of the office. If you’re traveling or on holiday, you’ll probably set an “out of office” alert right? That’s a perfect vehicle for leaving someone with a good impression and picking up some connections on social media. Finally, have something physical people can remember you by. Something physical is not limited to business cards either. Look sharp. Make an effort with your appearance in professional settings. Look to differentiate and have some motif. 

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