If you expect the world to know and understand who you are, and what you’re capable of, you need to do one really important thing: you need to know how to brand build. After all, how can you expect anyone else to know the real you if you don’t even know what you stand for? Regardless of your career, relationship status or life goals, number one on your to-do list should be to hone in on who you are and who you hope to be. According to Leslie Becker-Phelps Ph.D. in a piece for Psychology Today, self-awareness is crucial to attaining happiness and success. Her definition of self-awareness means “having an awareness of your emotions and an intellectual understanding of what makes you tick. It means fully acknowledging all of yourself, including difficult or conflicting aspects. This kind of self-knowledge on its own is often enough to create that sense of well-being and to help you make personal changes.” And it goes deeper than personal happiness—if you hope to achieve success in your career you, says Forbes, need to recognize that “with the surge of social media, you have not only the ability, but you now have the need to manage your own reputation, both online and in real life.” You are a brand, and you need to market yourself as such.
Without really knowing who you are, what motivates you, what you stand for and who you want to be, you’ll never be seen by others in that light and you’ll never be able to achieve those goals. So how do you make it happen? Is it a long and tedious process? If you have no clue where to start, are you a lost cause? No, and not even close. Here are 8 effective ways to help brand build.
Read Related: Personal Branding 101: Be the CEO of You!
Write Down Your Goals and Passions
Some people work better when they write down what they are working to achieve. Put words on paper to represent the kind of employee, leader, friend, partner and person you are and who you want to be. Then look at the words you wrote down. Are they accurate? Are they what you thought they would be? Sometimes seeing things in writing can help you not only acknowledge what you’re all about, but also edit accordingly if your goals aren’t in line with who you are today.
Give Your 60-second Sales Pitch
If you only had one minute to sell someone on your brand, what would you say? Consider it your elevator pitch—you have a quick elevator ride to convince someone to invest their time/energy/effort/respect/support in you; what would you tell them? Practice this pitch in your room, at your desk, in your car or in front of the mirror. Just practice and say it again and again until what you say reflects who you are and what you want others to know about you.
Make Sure Your Digital Life Represents Who You Are
In today’s extremely digital world, where all of you actions, thoughts, photos (good and bad) end up on the Internet for the entire world to see, you need to make sure that the person people see when they pull up your Facebook account or Twitter feed is the person you want them to see.
Verbalize Your Core Values
Think about some well-known, successful big brands. Could you explain their values just by hearing their name? If they did a good job of branding themselves, the answer will be yes. And the same needs to apply to your brand, whether we’re talking about a business brand or your brand in a personal capacity. Decide what your core values are, and make sure that everything you do supports those values.
What Makes You Unique?
No two brands can be the same. Even if two businesses, two works of art or two people are similar and share similar goals, they are still different, and in order to be successful they have to be different. So what makes you unique? When you apply for a job, what sets you apart? When you meet a potential partner, what makes you appealing and different from all the other suitors out there? You have to think about what you will add to your community, your office, your social circle and the world around you. If you want other people to see that potential and value, you need to see it for yourself as well.
Pick Words That Describe You
Sometimes the best way to know who you are and what you stand for is to choose a few words or a mantra that you want to define you. This is why many brands have slogans or tag lines and it’s why companies have mission statements—there needs to be a guiding principle that keeps you on track and reminds you (and the people you meet) who you are and what you stand for. Think about it, work on several drafts if you need to, play around with different terms and words, and do it until you get it right.
Interview Your Friends and Colleagues
According to Monster, a global online employment resource, it’s crucial that you not only think about how you want to be seen, but also do your research to make sure that the perceptions others are aligned with your goals. According to Monster.com, “By understanding how people perceive you, you can start sending the right messages and avoid coming off the wrong way when you communicate. Failure to perform this type of 360 assessment can hurt your chances of climbing the corporate ladder and making a name for yourself at work.”
Allow Yourself to Make Mistakes
No one is perfect, so the first step in accepting who you are, and recognizing what makes you special is to allow yourself to make mistakes. Fear cannot come into play when defining your own brand. Instead, think about what you would do, where you would go, what you would fight for and what would drive you if you knew you couldn’t fail. When you take failure out of the equation it’s much easier to assess who you want to be, and then figure out how to make that dream a reality. Mistakes are not only OK, they can be helpful in figuring out how to move forward and figure out what you are made of.