A new year usually means newness for most people – new opportunities, a sense of self, new habits and self-image. It can be a bit hard to catch on to this flow when you carry all these feelings of newness and have to show up at the same office or desk as last year.
Let's explore a few points on how to take charge of your brand to create a lot more opportunities for yourself and to find more value in your life and career.
First, see yourself as a brand
Why? Because you come as a package – your skills, experiences, people you are associated with, the way you dress, and in some instances your gender and race. If you do not take control of the narrative you set when you walk into a room, then the people in the room will set it for you. You need to ask yourself and answer questions about who you are, where you are at the moment and what you would like to achieve in your life and career. It is almost like how a popular brand of soft drink is defined – by its contents, purpose, the colours of the packaging, and according to who the drink aims to attract. By developing your personal brand, you are giving yourself a competitive advantage within your chosen industry. And you may very well also find yourself opening doors to industries new to you.
Create a USP for your personal brand
Important words to remember here: “You are your most important asset”. When it comes to finding your USP (Unique Selling Proposition), you have to go back to self to dig into your strengths, weaknesses and how you would like to be remembered by your audience, which in this case can be potential partners, clients and the community at large. This will help you set a focus for yourself so you do not find yourself trying to be everything to everyone.
Even though you can do well in “everything”, you will find that it is better to be a master of one or two things to keep your name, work and presence memorable. Your USP can include a statement that clearly shows how your services, skills or talents can solve a potential client’s problem, how you can contribute to the betterment of their life and what differentiates you from competitors in your field. Take a look at this diagram by Germanystartupjobs.com, and let us know in the comments if it helped you get closer to creating your own USP.
Develop your creative approach
Ever heard of the saying, “You are the artist of your life”? To complete this quote, author, Iva Ursano also adds that you should not “give your brush to anyone else”. Here Ursano is assuming that we all have cells of creativity in us, and the ability to create; which is true. You do not have to know how to put colours and design elements together for you to see yourself as a creative being, because we actually all are.
This is another part of personal branding you have to get comfortable with – your creative process and approach. And it does not need to be such a draining task. This is where you give yourself permission to play. Here you get to experiment with the different elements that make you – your choice of dress, how you speak to people, your tone, your social media profiles, and the emotional connections you make with people.
An excellent way to tap into your creativity is to silence your inner critic. You will see that the first action mentioned below, by Catherine Kaputa in her book “U R A Brand”, self-celebration is right on top. When you allow yourself to celebrate yourself and what makes you unique, with time your inner critic will eventually run out of demotivating comebacks. Write about your achievements, skills, and life lessons, and go as far as teaching about them to empower others. It is also important to remember to celebrate other people too.
Take a look at the “Top 10 self-branding actions” below. And if you still feel creativity isn’t your strongest suit, consider a consultation with our amazing Bonani On-Brand team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We sum this up with a powerful reminder by Kaputa: “Each of us is unique, with a mind, strengths, and experiences that are powerful self-brand assets. Anything that you have ever done or thought about could be an asset. If you think it is an asset, it is. If you see it as a stepping-stone to your self-brand goal, it is. If you see it as a career buster, it is.”