How to build your personal brand

May 22, 2023 | Blog | 0 comments

The value and relevance of a personal brand cannot be underestimated in the digital era. We look at how your brand is a reflection of who you are, and not who you want to be. You should strive for authenticity and ensure that your values are portrayed.

As the use of social media increases, having a personal brand gives people the opportunity to know more about you. The old saying remains true: out of sight, out of mind. By remaining true to who you are and ensuring that your brand is relatable, you eliminate the possibility of an integrity gap, which has the potential to destroy what you’ve built.

By being intentional about building your brand, you leave less room for people’s opinions to shape their perception of you. You become more identifiable as a person. Your brand has value that you can leverage. Personal branding is a way to separate yourself from others.

Aligning your personal brand with your career and personal life

We live in an integrated, connected life made up of different areas of influence, so it’s understandable that you might have concerns about aligning your personal brand with your career goals and personal life. We must ensure that our professional goals are aligned with our personal goals, but remember that we are not our careers – our careers are only a place we offer our colleagues and clients who we are. We are much more than what we do. It’s also important to note that you are not a brand, but rather your brand is an extension of who you are. Large companies work hard to humanise their brands.

The rise of influencer marketing has seen a surge of people referring to themselves as brands. How then do you prove your authenticity?

Know who you are – you go much deeper than your life story. Embrace your true self and your ethical values along with your weaknesses, and use your strengths to your advantage without worrying about what others think.

Why your EQ is important

It’s a worthwhile pursuit to develop your emotional intelligence and build your vocabulary so you can express your feelings. Genuinely express yourself – don’t be afraid to tell it like it is – to show your true self with others. Let go of the need to strive to perfection. It’s not achievable and will always leave you falling short.

It’s important to note that building a personal brand is only the first step; the digital space is competitive, so having an effective approach to grow your brand is key. So, what’s the best approach?

Showing up with courage. Brené Brown writes the following about courage: “Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant ‘to speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart’.”

Over time, this definition has changed, and today we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. This definition fails to recognise the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences – good and bad. Speaking from our hearts can be seen as ordinary courage. People want to see us as a whole, and not just as experts in a certain industry always putting our best foot forward. We have to be bold about what we believe in and care for. Speak your heart – people can connect and relate with that.

How do you show up?

Try committing to showing up in full. Speak about what you care about, be consistent, define your limits and stick to your approach. Don’t underestimate the power of writing recommendations of others around you. Because brand building does not feed our instant gratification mindsets, you might be quick to think thank that your strategy is not working, but a consistent presence over a longer period of time will bear fruit. Consistency is in itself what people are looking for. So how do you measure your own success as a brand?

Measuring your personal brand’s sucess

Assess yourself honestly by asking a friend how they see your brand, what they experience and what are portions of yourself that you are not showing. Be aware that you have a brand, and focus on building it authentically rather than perfectly. We often overestimate what we can do in a day, but we underestimate what we can do in a year. Be realistic about what you want to achieve.

To be fully known and fully loved is the essence of personal branding; knowing your strengths and weaknesses, but being so secure in the fact that all of it makes the real you – and people will always be attracted to authenticity, and inspired by real life, lived with courage.

If you’re curious about the future of personal branding, it’s only growing. In a world where technology is on the rise – the need for empathy and care will need to be demonstrated strongly as part of our value proposition.

5 Tips for developing your personal brand

  • Say ‘yes’ to relevant opportunities.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of public speaking – people don’t just hear what you say, they experience what you impart.
  • Be curious and willing to learn, and admit when you were wrong.
  • Serve – serving others and their cause will set you up to soon lead your own cause, which others will serve.
  • Play to your strengths and be truthful about your weaknesses.
This article first appeared in the SanlamConnect Engage Quarterly Issue 5.