Who you are and how other people see you are sometimes two completely different things. Have you ever been surprised by seeing a celebrity behave differently than you had them pegged? Their personal brand, the self they sell to the public, was convincing enough that it become more real than their genuine self.
You have your own personal brand, whether you like it or not, a way that you present yourself to the world, even unintentionally.
If you aren’t paying special attention to it then there is a good chance it’s floundering. Here are some tell-tale signs that your personal brand is in trouble.
You Don’t Network to Get Work – Networking events are a terrific way to meet new contacts and potential clients, in fact, that’s the entire point of these events. If you already know people and choose to give them the majority of your time, then you’re missing the point. If you don’t have a clear enough brand to sell and aren’t sure how to approach new people, you can rest assured you won’t learn about it by spending all your time talking to your current friends. Reach out and attach your face to a positive idea in another’s mind.
You Can’t Summarize Yourself – Quick: What is your personal brand? If you’re struggling to think of an immediate answer, you don’t have one. What is George Clooney’s brand? What is Donald Trump’s brand? Hillary Clinton? Even if you would describe these people differently than they would themselves, you almost certainly know what they’re about. They have a strong, specific personal brand. You need to know your own brand clearly if you ever expect anyone else to do the same. Find your skills, find your goals and bind them together into a plan of action centered around yourself and your public image.
You Don’t Take Care of Yourself – Nobody is suggesting that you have to live your life by other people’s standards to be found worthy. If you aren’t concerned with fashion, you don’t have to pretend in order to “take care of yourself’. Though spending any time at all each day considering your appearance is hardly the same as selling out to public opinion. If you put in little effort, it reflects the value you give to yourself, and to some degree the rest of your life, both business and pleasure. Treat yourself, and your brand, with the respect you deserve as valuable part of society.
You Aren’t Promoting Yourself Properly – Whether you’re over-eager in your self promotion, or too docile to grab any attention, you’ll be able to judge the success of your social media impact by the size of your following. Now, if you’re just starting out, you need to give it some time before you measure your success. However, if you’ve been at it for awhile and are still struggling, it might be time to revisit your self promotion strategy. Do you have your own website in your name? Do you post too much on twitter or not enough? Is your LinkedIn profile up to date or outdated? Your self-promotional efforts are your only voice to the public. If you want people to know who you are and what you can offer, it starts with communicating with them in a way they can hear.
Your Business Cards Aren’t Up To Snuff – When you make a new contact in person, they are often left with only a fading memory of who you are, a conversation you had, and a business card with your contact info. This card ought to reflect not only your personality, but also your brand. If you got a bit lazy and picked whatever was easiest or cheapest, then you’re unlikely to leave a lasting impression on the recipients. If you spend some creative time to really come up with a design that screams your brand’s name, you won’t have to rely on that fading memory of a good conversation. They’ll be able to remember exactly who you are because of the card in their hand.