“Branding” has become a buzzword, one that is losing meaning for many people tired of hearing it. That doesn’t change the importance of what “branding” actually is: your reputation.
It’s all the little pieces of information someone has about you wrapped up in their perceptions about that information. It’s important because it directly affects your career. Your reputation can get you the job or get you on the “do not call” list. People’s understanding of who you are can get you promoted or get you fired. With the internet and social media, there’s just a lot more information out there to be aware of.
Who you are, the choices you make and the way you do your job are part of your brand even though it happens off-line. Think of it as being the spokesperson for your personal brand. The best way to deepen relationships is to face time, and it happens best when you are not on a screen (although videoconferencing is becoming a popular substitute, it doesn’t work for everything). So step away from the computer and go to workshops and seminars. Do the volunteer community service. This gives a huge chunk of information to your branding because it is as big as you are.
Online, your brand is also made up of pieces of information. You have control over most of them if you are diligent about privacy settings, security, and consistent postings. Many are even choosing to have their own site with their name.com in order to be first in a search. LinkedIn profile and online branding development is so important that you should invest in research and possibly coaching to make sure your online brand is professional and current.
Your brand is not just the history of who you are. Your brand is the hope of who you aim to be. It’s your reputation and your potential all in one package, and you can choose what that looks like.