Building a personal brand through social media networking is a good thing, and it’s great if you’ve already started to make progress. But if all you work on are your online profiles, then you could be missing out on some important aspects of your personal brand. After all, your life is made up of more than just your online life, and your offline reputation and brand deserves real consideration and dedicated time on your part to make sure you’re presenting the best of yourself from all 360 degrees. Because that’s how other people perceive you.
Sustainable brands live on- and offline
Corporations, products and famous public figures alike all benefit from integration of their online and offline branding. They all have to harmonize the image they present to people online in order to avoid feeling false, two-dimensional, and lifeless. Similarly, at your workplace you are on display and everything you do contributes to your public/work brand: what you wear; how you speak to the security guards at the gate; how you speak to your peers; and, how you carry yourself. These all contribute to your branding more than what you tweet or what a spokesperson could say on your behalf. Your “Real World Branding” is the earthy experience of you in person, and you want to be able to understand the impress you are leaving with people, and how to best control it to get what you want.
Steve Jobs’ dress and style of presenting at Apple events became as much his brand as anything he ever said online. And Richard Branson’s flamboyant appearances outweigh the impact of his tweets any day!
So what impression are you making today? How would your immediate peers, neighbors, and industry press speak about your brand? And what are you doing to influence it? Your online branding may be valuable when someone googles you, but it cannot define the value you bring inside the conference room, so you want to be aware and in the drivers seat with the influence you wield through your actions and face-to-face personality.
To get your Real World Branding going, it takes a lot of thought and hard work:
- Start with you: Spend some time to reflect on your unique offering. Think about who you are, what Inspires you and how your unique talents can give you a competitive advantage in the workplace. Try to avoid comparing yourself with others, though, as you want to focus on your own identity and value – and while others can inspire you, remember that no one is perfect. Focus on skill-sets and characteristics that are natural to you. Identify the activities that give you strength and allow your talent to flourish. You may find this exercise useful to help you zero-in on the right area for you to specialize in, which could be speaker opportunities, blogging, holding webinars, or networking through industry events. Think carefully about the most impactful ways to be physically present for other people in the way that you want to be perceived.
- Move quickly to action: Once you have decided your objectives and what you want to project, get moving! Take the steps needed to manage your personal brand and start getting feedback about how your real world actions are being understood. Take charge of your brand and operate with intent. One way to remain engaged and motivated is to keep you focus on the purpose behind your pursuits, not just the pursuits themselves. Simon Sinek has posited that we can operate with intent when we ask ourselves ‘Why We Do What We Do’. Using these methods of maintaining focus can help you get started but also keep going when the going gets rough. If you don’t take action, you won’t make an impression in the real world, where your branding needs to be visible and influential.
- Be really, really picky when you network: Do your homework to make sure you’re networking with the right people. You will build your sphere of influence by associating yourself with people who challenge you and increase your value in your chosen field. Don’t be afraid to limit the time you spend networking with below- average associates or negative-thinking people while your building your networks – they bring more grief than benefits, and your time is a valuable resource. Make your own opportunities for in-person networking by joining regional trade bodies and or organizations where your target audience is likely to be found. Over time, leverage this networking with attendance at national conferences.
- Appear at the main event: Attend tradeshows, seminars, and conferences on trending topics where you can network with other industry leaders and prospective clients. These events can provide a great opportunity for in-person networking and using speaker content to generate social media mentions, tweet-ups and campaigns.
- Speak out, speak up, and speak loud: Leverage your presence at events to start to establish yourself as a thought leader in your area of expertise through speaking engagements. A speaking engagement puts you in front of a highly targeted and interested audience that is primed and ready to pay attention to what you have to say. This kind of face-time can be invaluable for driving traffic to your website when your audience is inspired to learn more about you and your company.
- Get it in writing: Explore opportunities in authoring articles in select trade journals and print publications, if they are likely to be read by your target audience. Obtaining relevant placements in magazines and journals can help increase your brand visibility and showcase your expertise. Make this part of your blogger outreach strategy and ensure that the online and print versions of these publications link back to your website or LinkedIn profile.
Refocusing your offline branding can enable you to effectively project your values, skills, and the energy you share with others each and every day. These face-to-face interactions can help create new connections and a deeper sense of brand loyalty for those people who already think they know you.
That’s Real World Branding – and it’s not that different from what you’re already doing. It’s just more organized and intentional. And it can get you real world results.
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Yooniko (a brand of Metamorph Corporation) is dedicated to creating the future of unique, personal branding. Find out more here.