There was a time when a personal brand was limited to a person’s co-workers, neighbors, family and friends. In today’s Internet- and social network-focused world, personal branding is an essential activity. It can and will affect job hunting, career advancement and other life events. In this article, we’ll identify several of the benefits of building your personal brand.
Whether you create it or not, there is information about you on the Internet. It may be a little or a lot, but it’s out there. One very important reason to build your personal brand is that you create the foundation for who you are and how you are perceived by the online world. These perceptions could be important with current and future customers, or even a future employer. Taking a little time to build your personal brand ensures that you are defining yourself as you see fit.
By taking the time to build your personal brand, you also build your opportunity to control much of the available information about you. You should already know that prospective and current employers are checking out employees and potential new hires via search engines and social media sites. So, doesn’t it make sense to control what they learn about you in those searches?
Building a personal brand also allows you to connect to people with a similar job and similar hobbies. It also allows you to interact with people from your local area whom you might not otherwise ever meet. Having these “resources” around you becomes valuable when you need help. For example, by attending networking events for entrepreneurs in your market, you create relationships with others while sharing who you are and what you do. This is branding, just like companies perform, only you’re doing it for your personal brand.
Once your personal brand has achieved a level of recognition, it can be utilized as an asset. Take a look at what Stephen A Wynn was able to do with his personal brand. By placing his name atop his hotels, he’s branding them as a luxury. This is a masterful example of personal branding.
Another great reason to build your personal brand was suggested by Dorie Clark in a 2013 U.S. News & World Report article interview. If you have a negative life event that becomes online information, your personal brand creates a foundation for “drowning” the negative quickly. Ms. Clark suggests the top results of a Google search of you should always be items that you created.
The worst time to think about fire insurance is while your kitchen is burning and the same is true with personal branding. Many executives and celebrities have been able to dull a negative event by pouring positive branding information into the online space.
Finally, building a personal brand is not just about online views of who you are. In his Forbes.com article, Glenn Llopis points out that every interaction you have with someone is also an opportunity to extend your personal brand. Personal contacts are an excellent way to extend your desired personal brand because people are able to see the connections between your online and personal expertise and experience.
So, building your personal brand is both strategy and insurance. As you move through life, your personal brand is a tool that you can use to advance yourself professionally or to distance yourself from a mistake. In either case, building your personal brand in advance provides a necessary weapon.
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