Personal branding: shaping your brand

Personal branding means you establish yourself as a brand. Whether you like it or not, you and your business have a certain image, an (online) identity. Your brand includes all information that can be found about you. Information that you have communicated yourself, and also what others say about you.

Use this step-by-step personal branding plan to consciously market yourself in a positive way. These tips will help you build your personal brand.

What is personal branding?

In personal branding, you look at what makes you and your business unique. You present your qualities, passions, and ambitions. Not just as pretty packaging, but to introduce your real and authentic self. You ‘enter the market’ as the unique person you are. If you clearly communicate who you are and what you are good at, people know when to come to you. And when not to.

Your personal brand or identity will mainly be visible online . But your trade name, pitch, or logo also contribute to your image. Potential customers form their opinion based on your brand. You can only stand out if you distinguish yourself from the rest. So you need to think about how you want to present yourself. What kind of personal brand do you want to have?

Advantages of personal branding

Personal branding is not just an empty buzzword. A solid brand gives you some advantages:

  • You stand out from the rest.
  • You attract the right customers and clients.
  • You position yourself as an expert in your field.
  • You show what you stand for.
  • You increase the chance that others remember you.

Step-by-step plan towards your personal brand

During sales training, you might have heard of the sequence ‘know-appreciate-trust’. In other words: your (potential) customers first get to know you, then appreciate you, and finally trust you. Nowadays, it is the other way round: 'know-trust-appreciate'. After the first introduction, you want to immediately give your customers the confidence that you are the right company for them. Your personal brand helps cultivate such trust. Use this step-by-step plan to shape your brand.

Step 1: what do you stand for?

You cannot be everything to everyone. Personal branding can only be successful if you make clear choices. Decide how you want to spend your time. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why do I do this work?
  • What do I stand for?
  • How do I want to be remembered?
  • What is something I always enjoy doing, no matter what time of day?
  • Align your mission and vision with your answers.

Step 2: what is your added value?

Ask your customers what they value most in you. Why do they want to do business with you and not with the competition? What problem do you solve for them? We call this your value proposition. By talking to people who know you well, you can get a lot of useful information. You can then highlight this added value on all your marketing and communication channels.

Step 3: your personal brand via words and images

Your personal brand needs words and images that express your core values as specifically as possible. Saying 'I deliver quality' or 'I am customer-focused' will make you sound like everyone else. Dig a bit deeper. What exactly does quality mean to you? Describe how you actually deal with customers and what makes you different from the competition.

Look for words and images that fit you personally, as well as your business. You can use the principles of personal branding to find those:

  • authenticity (real, original)
  • reliability
  • consistency (systematic, steady)

The clearer you define this for yourself, the closer you will come to your personal brand. Also ask others if the words you choose really suit you. Listen to customers when they tell you why they chose you. What words do they use? You can summarise your brand in a slogan, logo, or picture. In short: try to make it as clear as possible to your customers and clients who you are and what you stand for.

Step 4: communicate your personal brand

As soon as your personal brand is ready, you can start marketing it. A marketing plan helps you do so. Choose where you want to be visible, and where you don’t. Determine what platforms suit your business and your brand. That’s where you find your customers. You decide how and where you will communicate, and how often. This gives structure to your communication.

Are you active on social media? Do you have your own website? If so, make sure that everything on it fits your personal brand. Use the words and images you have chosen consistently. In your corporate identity. On your website and social media. And also in offline communications such as CVs  , business cards, posters, stationery, or brochures. Always ensure that these communications reflect your personal brand in the best way possible.

Step 5: make sure they remember you

You don't just want people to see you, you want them to remember you. You want them to know what you do. What is your unique marketing plan? What is your look and where do you show yourself? A unique personality is more easily remembered than a wallflower.

You carry your personal brand everywhere and show it wherever you go. The more you use it, the clearer it gets. And the more customers will find you.

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