The key to a successful product or business is successful branding. Clearly identifying core values and distinguishing attributes allow companies to establish a specific mission and can lead to a company culture that surrounds the whole operation. Branding also allows a company to better market and position themselves in a world where the market is saturated with hundreds of nearly identical products and services.
What many people don't realize, however, is how effective the practice of branding oneself is in modern society. The ability to identify one's strengths and weaknesses in order to define what sets them apart from a sea of applicants is extremely valuable.
But what exactly is a brand? You might think of iconic brands like Coca-Cola, Apple, Starbucks, etc. What is it that makes these brands stand out to a consumer and distinguish them among countless competitors?
Your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.
Entrepreneur explains that "defining your brand is like a journey of business self-discovery. It can be difficult, time-consuming and uncomfortable. It requires, at the very least, that you answer the questions below:
What is your company's mission?
What are the benefits and features of your products or services?
What do your customers and prospects already think of your company?
What qualities do you want them to associate with your company?"
Using the questions above, think of your "company" as yourself. Taking the time to search within yourself to answer these questions is the process of personal branding.
You are a Brand Ambassador for yourself. What is it that you stand for? What are your core values and beliefs? What makes you unique?
And just like any product, personal branding allows you to market yourself more efficiently to potential jobs in order to prove why you are exactly what they are looking for.
Think of your elevator pitch. You are selling who you are as an employee, just as any salesperson would sell a product. Using your past experiences and strengths, you can convince the seller--or recruiter--why you are the best fit. This is also likely your first impression with a potential employer, which you don't get a second chance at. Be sure to set yourself apart by showing them who you are.
This is just as important online as it is in a job interview or face-to-face interaction. This Forbes article details how employers are now more than ever using social media to get to know their potential employees, In this way, employers can learn what to expect from potential employees and imagine whether or not they would be a good fit for their company or business.
In a world where the media is chock full with people trying to get their message heard by the world, the competition to stand out is intense. Everything that you do or say, both online and offline, contributes to your overall brand.
Having a digital presence that is consistent and original can allow employers to get a sense of who you are outside of the workplace and possibly imagine how well you could fit into their company culture.
No matter what career you find yourself in, there is a great deal of power in personal branding. Being able to play to your strengths (and acknowledging your weaknesses) in order to position yourself optimally for a job is an asset to any job search and will help you even after you have landed your dream position.