If you don't have a powerful and visible personal brand, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage in almost every aspect of your professional, business and personal life. Personal branding has become a requirement for anyone looking to grow their business, get a better job, get noticed by the press, take their career to the next level or meet new, high quality friends.
Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands -- the ongoing process of establishing a prescribed image or impression in the mind of others about an individual. Everyone has a unique personal brand, whether they know it or not. But what we should all be striving for is a powerful, attractive and visible personal brand. I define that as an online and in-person authentic display of the engaging aspects of your professional and personal activities and interests.
The question I get asked repeatedly is, "Why do I actually need a personal brand at all?"
Here are the eight reasons why I tell people you must have a top-notch personal brand if you want to be successful today:
1. Opportunity finds you.
When your personal brand is attractive, customers, clients, vendors, press and even companies looking to hire, will find you and reach out to you. I am the CEO of a new social media platform, and I had them contact me for the job. I didn't even know the position was available. I have gotten media appearances, writing opportunities and speaking engagements because I get noticed and folks reach out to me.
2. Online networking power.
When you have a compelling personal brand, people find you interesting and desirable, so they are willing to connect with you. I get dozens of new LinkedIn and Twitter connections every day. People look at my profiles, follow me and want to know more about me.
3. In-person networking power.
When I'm at a networking event and I engage others, I have many aspects of my brand to share. It makes me more interesting than the guy who walks up to you and says, "Hi, My name is Joe, and I sell insurance." I have many facets to my brand, both professional and personal. That makes people want to connect with me and do business with me. I can demonstrate proficiency and have the online assets to back them up on many topics like photography, entrepreneurship, my Man-Up Project and fatherhood, blogging, speaking, social media, men's health, non-profit work and more.
4. Build your business.
When I had to reinvent and rebuild my photography business in 2007, which was failing because of the rapid decline of film, it was my powerful personal brand that drove much of our success. Customers, clients and vendors are more likely to do businesses with a company when the leader has a killer personal brand. Good examples are Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Mark Cuban, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Fred Smith, Warren Buffet and even Donald Trump -- whose personal brand may be bigger than his business. Where would their companies be without their personal brands shining on their company brands?
According to SHRM, 84 percent of hiring managers use social media to hire -- 96 percent use Linkedin, and 53 percent use Twitter. Many companies post jobs on Twitter before anywhere else. But the most revealing statistic is that 66 percent of hiring managers use Facebook to hire. They are doing that because they are trying to find out more about you than just what's on your resume. They want to know you as a person and understand whether you are going to fit into their corporate culture.
It's a logical approach for selecting the best candidates. Candidate A has an impressive resume. Candidate B has a similarly impressive resume, but their strong personal brand shows that they have a blog with articles on topics relevant to the company's business. They tweet about news and ideas from the industry. They do yoga, run half-marathons, and they volunteer for charity. Who do you think is getting the interview and the job?
6. Make new friends.
A powerful personal brand doesn't only benefit you professionally. When you are interesting and people can find and notice you, they will connect with you on a personal level. I have had people read an article I have written or see one of my social posts and reach out to me. I've become friends with many of them, and I might even admit that I have gotten a few dates from my "attractive" personal brand.
7. Serendipitous success.
When you are out there with your powerful and attractive personal brand good things happen -- sometimes just by luck. There have been too-many-times-to-remember when simply being noticed for one part of my brand caused something else to happen. The person who noticed my popular Facebook account and reached out to me -- she became my executive assistant. The doctor who found about my upcoming book -- we ended up doing men's health videos together and have become good friends. The senior executive and one of my company's vendors saw my engaged social media and decided to give my company an exclusive on a new product launch.
Developing your personal brand requires you to find your authentic voice. The process of creating one develops who you are -- the unique you -- the Me, Inc. When you find your voice, and your audiences start to react positively, that builds self-confidence and self-esteem and allows you to find yourself in a meaningful way.
Whether you are trying to build your business, find a job, get noticed by the press, impress vendors, attract influential contacts or simply make new successful friends, a powerful, attractive and visible brand is the key. And it's also key to building your reputation, credibility and most importantly, being successful in your professional and personal life.And finally, never forget the golden rule of building a successful personal brand -- authenticity rules.