This is the final post in a series of three articles about personal branding by Kathleen Laney, the President and Founder of Laney Solutions. Click here for Part 2.
Laney Solutions is the first search firm to specialize specifically in parking industry recruitment and works with businesses ranging from startups to enterprises in the U.S., Canada, South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
Part 1 explained the importance of personal branding. In part 2 we discussed the first two steps to build your own personal brand. Now we will examine the final three steps of this process. You can also download a companion personal branding worksheet.
Step Three: Build
There is no professional or personal anymore. There’s simply your brand. Everything you do affects your brand, and it’s up to you to determine whether your brand is affected positively or negatively. That’s it. Anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong.”
Part 1 and part 2 encouraged you to gain a better understanding of your desired brand and current abilities. The simplest way to start this process is by completing a personal branding toolkit, which is outlined below.
The most important part of communicating your brand is to be consistent and keep in mind that it all matters. Everything from your emails to the way you conduct a business meeting is a larger message you’re sending about your brand.
Personal Branding Toolkit
Your branding toolkit should include a personal brand statement and offline and online marketing tools. Creating a toolkit will guide you through the process of demonstrating your value. Take your target groups into consideration. What are their needs and values? What messages should you communicate?
You’re using the same marketing concept companies use, but adapting it to promote yourself instead of a company.
Content marketing is the best way to build a brand and reputation. People tend to go back to sources they have found helpful before. You should become a trusted source of information through your content. If you do so, in time you’ll gain a reputation as an expert in your specific field or industry.
Everyone wants their brand to become an overnight sensation. But keep in mind that becoming an industry leader takes time and determination. It requires you to be consistent and relentless when promoting your brand.
Consider both online and offline channels to share your expert knowledge:
Online branding tools: The best way to build your online brand is to position quality content so your target audience will see it. This could be thoughtful comments on articles related to your job. Or showcasing your latest project.
Online marketing expands your network to draw in people who know of you and would like to know you. The more people you know, the more doors you can open to new opportunities. Build and use your networks wisely now and they’ll pay big dividends later.
For additional information about building your social media profiles, visit the International Parking Institute’s website to review their Social Media Marketing Guide.
Offline branding tools: Online marketing may make up much of your personal branding efforts. But keep in mind that offline tools are also important to your brand. To help make yourself memorable, consider developing offline marketing assets as well.
Part of your offline brand is also your appearance and attitude. Marketing yourself as organized, professional, appropriate, and positive will reinforce your personal brand.
For more information about parking industry events and associations, visit the resources tab on Parking Today’s website.
Step Four: Participate, Maintain, and Engage
Establishing your personal brand takes effort. You will need to work to maintain a strong and consistent brand identity. Keep engaging with others on social media, through industry associations, and at networking events.
Social media is one of the most accessible, affordable, and effective tools you can leverage. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are among the most popular outlets. There are also dozens, if not hundreds, of specialized platforms you can use.
The table below provides a breakdown of how the parking industry uses Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Social Media Platforms
Actions speak louder than words. Your offline engagement must also reflect your brand. If you brand yourself as a reliable professional, you should not come in late to work or neglect your duties. As you mature in your career, your branding should evolve to reflect the current “brand you.”
You also need to ensure online conversations about you are factual and positive. You can do this by using a combination of tools, including a Google Alert for your name.
Step Five: Adapt or Reinvent
Be flexible as you take on new challenges or adjust your career path for a long-term successful brand. Don’t be afraid to make changes to your brand as needed. People who adapt, survive; people who don’t, won’t.
It’s important to assess your brand from time to time whether you have accomplished your goals or not. According to Tufts’ University professor Amar Bhide, 70 percent of all successful businesses deviate from their original plan. The same idea applies to your personal branding. Some parts of your brand that were once relevant may need to change.
Ultimately, you’re the one who decides which skills to master and how you spend your time. The more time you invest in learning in-demand skills, the more valuable you become. People will ask you to work on projects with them and you’ll become the “go-to” person for your niche.
Don’t Wait until Tomorrow to Start
Developing and maintaining a strong personal brand is the most important thing you can do to achieve success in your career. Don’t wait to start building your personal brand. It has never been easier to get your name out there and connect with others. But building your brand takes patience and perseverance.
With the right strategy and planning, developing your brand is really just a matter of time.