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Strategic set-up and development of
your own personal brand

Use personal branding to achieve your own individual targets  

When it comes to personal branding, many people think of entrepreneurs and CEOs who position themselves in public on every possible channel. However, a personal brand is not only important for top executives and managers, but also for university graduates and professionals.  

The three most important reasons for personal branding 

There are several reasons why professionals and executives should carry out personal branding  

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  2. Personal branding can help you to stand out from the competition. In a competitive industry or niche, it is essential to differentiate yourself from other experts and present your expertise to the outside world. A strong personal brand can help you to do precisely that.

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  4. Personal branding will improve your colleagues’ perception of you within your company. When you develop a clear personal brand, your team and/or even your superiors will start to associate certain qualities and expertise with you. This can help you to become more visible and influential within your company.

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  6. Personal branding can help you to build up a strong network – both externally and internally. A strong personal brand will provide you with high-quality contacts, both professionally and privately. These connections can be extremely valuable when you are strategically developing your personal brand and pursuing pre-defined goals.

Personal branding definition: What is a personal brand? 

Personal branding can be defined as the process of positioning a person on the market with their expertise, their attitude towards certain topics and their values.  

The goal of a personal brand is to leave an unforgettable impression in your own network or the desired target group, and be perceived as a trustworthy, competent opinion leader or thought leader.  

Your advantages from personal branding 

A personal brand acts like a (digital) fingerprint which makes you both unique and authentic. Because: Your personal brand should be built on what you stand for, your knowledge and your passion for that which motivates you. Distinctive personal branding has a motivating and inspirational effect on other people. At the same time, you establish better visibility, which can help you a great deal in future career steps such as job applications or salary negotiations. 

success-factors-personal-brand

Your identity and your expert status will only support your personal brand if you advertise yourself and become (more) digitally visible. As more and more business communication moves online, maintaining and developing a powerful personal brand is becoming increasingly important. Social media platforms such as LinkedIn are an ideal place to share your story and valuable knowledge with your network. Support is also available from another source when doing this: SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Social media profiles appear very prominently in Google and Bing search results in the topics that they occupy. And content on these topics is precisely what will enhance your brand profile. 

Business is all about relevance nowadays. The days when companies put their marketing messages out there without a strategy and hoped that something would stick are a thing of the past. People are more likely to receive a loyalty bonus than companies nowadays. Many companies and corporations have recognized this trend and have been using brand ambassadors in a targeted way for several years, which has a positive effect on the (corporate) brand. With a strong personal brand, you can support your employer and invest your working time in the company’s external image, which is a win-win situation for you and also your company.   

But what does this mean in this context in order to be relevant? Essentially, it aims to create content that is interesting and useful for your target audience. There’s no doubt about it: It can be a challenge finding topics which fulfil these criteria. But it will be worth your while when you discover content which reinforces your position as a thought leader. 

Impress people with your personal brand by means of values, expertise and convictions  

Personal branding is all about who you are. The focus is on your personal identity and that which makes you special – not only with regard to your (private) hobbies or interests, but also the values ​​which you stand for and how other people perceive your personality traits. Honesty, intrinsic motivation and empathy are essential anchoring points which should characterize your personal brand and encourage the development of relationships with external contacts and co-workers. 

What is the reason for this development? Nowadays, people no longer just look at brands and companies. They are much quicker to trust people who can authentically communicate their convictions and also prove their position.  

Personal branding provides this opportunity by helping you to recognize your own strengths (even more clearly) which stand out with new contacts when networking, be it offline or online.  

How to develop your personal branding strategy as a professional and an executive

Developing a strategy for your personal brand may be a challenge, but with a little effort you can create an image which reflects your unique strengths and your personality.  

Start by finding out what makes you unique and what you are good at. Once you have a clear idea of your strengths, you should focus on communicating them to your target audience in an effective way.  

A SWOT analysis can help in this case. As well as your strengths, it is also important to record your weaknesses. In the analysis, the combination of these two factors is what creates the internal factors which affect your personal abilities. You should ask yourself which measures you can use to build up trust in your network and beyond, and which topics are really of interest to you at the moment. 

The external factors form the opportunities and threats which relate to your direct or indirect environment. In this case you should examine the competition in your market. Analyse the needs of your target group, the trends and developments which play a part for them and the problems you can solve. 

At the end of this SWOT analysis, you collect the answers and write a statement for yourself which defines your positioning.  

Concentrate on the following key points:

Your benefits 
Record the added value for your target group, define your benefits and also the topics and convictions that you stand for.

Your identity 
Get to the bottom of your "why". Connect your inner drive with your own tonality, i.e. how you want to communicate with your target group and what distinguishes your character.

Your demarcation 
Emphasise your unique selling proposition and make a concise note of what you do better in comparison to others. 

Your brand essence 
Now summarize all aspects of your personal brand, focusing on the essential messages to finally connect with your audience with just one sentence or even one wordwhich is sufficiently attention-grabbing.  

Once you have carried out this preparatory work, implementation follows. Here are five steps which will help you to become visible in the end and generate the necessary attention. 

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  2. Show yourself to be an emotional person

    Expertise alone will not help you to build up a personal brand. Be approachable, talk about your thoughts and concerns, and also the mistakes you have made. When packed into a story, these insights will have an effect on your target group.

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  4. Communicate clearly and personally

    Nobody will follow you if you keep changing your opinion on certain topics. Impress people with your attitude, and argue clearly and unequivocally on your favourite topics and values.

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  6. Stay on the ball

    Don't just be consistent in what you say, communicate on a regular basis. Building up a personal brand takes time – and this is where your own articles, video content and lectures can help you to be present and consolidate your core brand. Look specifically for (digital) contact points at which you find your target group.

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  8. Use the power of storytelling

    Stories stick in the memory better and longer than facts and figures. But don't start chatting by swapping stories. Talk about what drives you, your customers and employees, and create added value and learnings for your community in this way.

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  10. Follow a defined plan on selected channels

    Once you have carried out this preparatory work, you need to decide which platform or network you wish to be present on. Be it YouTube, LinkedIn or Instagram: The decisive factor is where you can generate the biggest impact for your contacts. Once you have found a language style that suits you (and possibly also your own design), you should record your content in an editorial plan which provides you with a common implementation thread.

Conclusion: Starting out with your own personal brand 

Personal branding has become essential for professionals and executives who wish to make a difference in their careers. It allows them to differentiate themselves from the competition, communicate their skills and strengths in an effective way, and build up relationships with potential employers and clients. If you are ready to develop and make the positive impact that you are looking for in your career, start building your own personal brand now. 

Personal brands represent a new approach to marketing yourself – and also your own company – in a better and more purposeful way in this digital world (personal marketing). A personal brand creates humanity in the network, which is often anonymous, by being perceived as a specialist or manager more clearly than ever before on your topics. 

Think about this: Transparency is becoming an increasingly important part of our lives – both offline and online. Corporate appearances are gradually losing their value nowadays. The people behind the brands represent the actual anchoring points which interested parties put their trust in. 

But one thing is for sure: It takes time and effort to develop a personal brand. Start early – before you want to change jobs or want to give your career a new growth spurt, and not only when you realize that it is now absolutely necessary. 


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