What comes to your mind when you think of Kim Kardashian? What about Richard Branson? Between the two, whom would you hire? The contrasting images that the two famed individuals are likely to evoke in most minds testify to the importance of properly branding yourself. You may never set the internet alight with your derrière or own a spaceship, but cultivating a compelling personal brand can open doors that would otherwise stay shut.
It is perhaps with that in mind that the writer of the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes declared that ‘a good name is better than fine perfume.’ Sweet scents have a short life, but powerful personal brands are monuments that can last far beyond an individual’s lifetime. Hundreds of years after their deaths, the personal brands of Socrates, Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Buddha, Jesus and others still command great influence. Branding yourself in the right way can also influence your earning potential positively. For instance, statistics show that the selling price of an item on eBay can increase by as much as 4 percent if the seller is rated trustworthy. A more compelling example is the personal brand of Michael Jordan, the retired basketball star. According to Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes, the Jordan brand made Nike an estimated $2 billion in 2014.
What is the secret of branding yourself in a way that will be positively remembered for generations, and perhaps earn you millions in the process? Reputation management requires strategy. A compelling brand is not an accident but the end product of a well-thought-out plan. Branding yourself in the right way involves highlighting your passions and interests, unique selling points such as rare skills and highly-sought-after educational attainments and soft skills such creativity, empathy, trustworthiness and the ability to get along with others.
Have a vision and a context in mind when crafting a personal branding plan. This is because what works for one industry may be inappropriate for another. Once complete, craft a compelling narrative to weave the pieces of your plan together. Next, trace the discrepancies between your intended personal brand and your actual public image and take the actions needed to correct the disparities. Branding yourself in the right way also requires a supportive ecosystem. Joining and actively participating in the right organizations is key to a successful personal branding strategy. No matter how well it is crafted, a personal branding plan cannot operate on autopilot. Successful reputation management requires constant review to ensure that branding strategies are working as intended. Course corrections should be made where needed.
Because background check increasingly encompass the Internet, branding yourself also involves crafting the right persona on blogs and websites such as Linked In and Twitter. For this reason, if you intend to project a good image, avoid mooning denizens of the web. That may work for Kim Kardashian, but such acts would leave your reputation in tatters.