Personal branding might sound like it is thrown around like an overused buzzword, but it’s actually an important strategy to hone in on and nail down. Your personal brand speaks before you do and can have a measurable impact on your professional life and the opportunities you come across. Without one, your professional image isn’t as clear and complete as it could be. Learn how to develop a personal brand and how to cultivate it for years to come.

Developing Your Brand

First and foremost, your brand needs to be a reflection of who you are truly. Rather than cultivating a personal brand that does not fit your personal narrative, hone in on your unique qualities and what makes you, you. These characteristics are, after all, your best selling points; they make you who you are and are responsible for how to operate. Plus, zeroing in on who you are at your core makes it easier to keep up with your personal brand. By staying true to you, you don’t have to turn “on” your brand; instead, you just live it.

To develop your brand, you first need to figure out what you want to say and where you want to go; answering these two questions is key to the rest of your brand’s story. The answers will become the foundation and guiding forces of your personal brand.

Next, figure out where you want to tell your story. Do you want to become a thought leader in your industry? If so, begin developing your brand’s voice, one that is constant throughout any communications you develop. No matter which channel or channels you find yourself on, design them in such a way that there is continuity from one to the next. This way as people find you on multiple channels, your voice and message will be constant. As you add new channels and outlets, be mindful to keep your story and messaging the same. Minimize any whiplash people might experience as they find you and your story on different channels and platforms.

Nurturing Your Brand

Once you have the foundation of your personal brand optimized, you’ll want to nurture your brand for years to come. Think of personal branding along the same lines of a company’s brand; although there might be changes in how the message is shared, the look of the message and possibly even the tone of the message, the essence of the brand never changes (unless the brand runs into some PR problems, which hopefully you personal brand will not!). You want to cultivate this same pattern of constant in your own brand. This shows that you know and care what you stand for and truly believe it; you don’t waiver in your beliefs but rather live your truth.

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