Without question, self-promotion can make you successful. And if you’re already successful, it can make your personal brand huge. You don’t get to be a success without knowing a lot of people and having a lot of people know you.
If you want to be stuck in a little, gray cubicle for your entire career, never rising above lower middle management, keep your head down and don’t attract attention.
But if you want to make a name for yourself, establish a good reputation, finally get that corner office, or even own your own successful business, you need to promote yourself.
To do that, you need to be passionate about two things: the work you do and yourself. If you’re not passionate about what you do, find the thing you’re passionate about. If you’re not passionate about yourself, seek professional help.
The person you should love the most, admire the most, and treasure the most is you. And when you have that confidence in yourself, others see it, too. When you share that confidence with other people, they feel confident about you as well.
So don’t sit in your cubicle any longer. Figure out what you want to do, make it happen, and then start telling people about it. Let them know that you are good at what you do. Let them come to you for answers and information.
If you ask 100 people what personal branding is, you’ll get 100 different answers.
But the answer we’re going with is that it is an emotional response to the image or name of a particular company, product, or person.
Think of some corporate brands you have positive or negative feelings toward. These brands are popular because they have created a lot of positive feelings in their fans, even if they also engender negative feelings in their detractors.
Similarly, people have emotional responses when they see you or meet you for the first time. These responses can be feelings of joy, pleasure, love, dread, fear, or anger.
When they hear your name again, they will either have new experiences and emotions, or they will relive the old ones. The kinds of emotional responses they have depend on you.
So a brand is an emotional response to the image or name of a particular company, product, or person.
Branding yourself means that you create the right kind of emotional response you want people to have when they hear your name, see you online, or meet you in real life.
The “right” kind doesn’t mean being someone you’re not. It’s your personality, your voice, your interests, your habits—everything about you that you want people to know.
This means that the information you show to other people, the things you say, and the photos you post should all fit within that theme of your personal brand.
If you’re a stand-up comic, your brand is “funny.” You want people to see that you actually are funny, which means posting some of your jokes and posting links to videos of your routine and even to your blog.
If you’re a freelance graphic designer, your brand is “creative.” You want people to know you have creative skills, so you’ll show people samples of your work through an online portfolio, possibly a blog.
If you’re a cost reduction analyst, your brand is “saving companies’ money.” You can demonstrate your knowledge by answering questions on LinkedIn, writing useful articles on your blog, and giving talks to Chambers of Commerce.
Peter Sabuni is a Marketing & Brand Consultant