In the last few years, there has been a lot of confusion about having a personal brand. Is it a trend? A fad?
Everyone has a personal brand, whether you think you do or not. The question is: How are you managing your brand to make it work for you?
The personal branding process helps you uncover a better understanding of your inner brand; which is a representation of who you are, including your vision, purpose, passions, strengths, and values in life. These “heart branding attributes” serve as the foundation upon which your personal brand is built.
It’s about identifying what makes you distinctive, relevant, irresistible and memorable; and it needs to be authentic and in alignment with your own story.
By identifying and then communicating what makes you unique and different, you can work towards setting yourself apart from everyone else. A well defined and differentiated personal brand sends a clear, consistent message about who you are, what you are known for, and what you’re good at to help you stand out from the crowd. Through discovering your personal brand, you can start to take better control of your image by making yourself known to others in a smart and authentic way. The personal branding process identifies ways to accurately reflect and amplify your brand to enhance your recognition, reputation and credibility. Personal branding helps you to chart a course to your destination, in both your professional and personal life.
Take the Bisila Bokoko brand for example. My brand is built with my own story as a cultural hybrid, my beliefs in global collaboration, strategic alliances, my experience in international trade and entrepreneurship, literacy, cooperation for sustainable change, education, empowerment, the economy of generosity, mentoring, arts and fashion. The elements of my brand are a combination of my passions, core values, and areas of expertise. I recommend you start by looking at your own career history and the meaningful projects you were involved in. What patterns do you notice? Which ones excited you the most? Use this list as a starting point in uncovering your brand.
The second part of building your personal brand entails looking at the external representations of your brand, or your outer brand: our communication style, presence, personal style and lifestyle. A strong outer brand can help create a strong first impression, as well as a unforgettable one.
Building a successful personal global brand requires more than just launching a website that is accessible anywhere in the world. We must think universal.
Taking it a step further in defining a global personal brand combines the traditional personal branding techniques with tools that will set you apart from all others in the international marketplace. What we’re finding is that as content moves across borders, brand stories are crossing over internationally. A global personal brand carries benefits such as:
- easier career transitions
- well defined leadership style
- strong professional identity
- higher pay
We are living interesting times, and we all are able to create a brand that we are connected to and proud of but first, you need to know where you’re going. If you have a hunger for global success, you must be clear. You need to see the destination before you see external results.
You also need to develop your tribe, When creating a tribe, authenticity and transparency are a must. While you don’t have to share the details of your life, you must show a commitment to welcome the world into your life. It is important to share enough that your audience can get to know your personality. A tribe is built on trust. Your audience must feel safe with you.
Get familiar with social media platforms, learn how things work, and engage with your tribe often; they want to hear from you! Even if you hire a social media expert, your energy and words must come through.
Finally, remember when building a personal brand, you don’t have to do this alone. I rely on a wonderful team, Sissi Johnson and Tatiana Lussamaki who have helped me to grow my brand and I am extremely grateful for that! It is worth the investment to create a support system that helps you to deliver your message around the world in the right platforms with the right strategy. Your family and closest friends are also part of the success of your brand since they can help you to identify your strengths and your weaknesses and they also help you to remain humble and grounded.
Have fun with uncovering and building your personal brand. The journey will take you and your career to places you could only imagine!
Byline: Bisila Bokoko is a Ladybrille Woman Alum, an award-winning entrepreneur, speaker, television personality, and a Spain-US Chamber of Commerce former executive director. Listen to her interview with Ladybrille below.
Founded in 2007, Ladybrille® Magazine is a California based pioneer digital publication demystifying the image of Africans in the west through contemporary African fashion and celebrating the brilliant woman in business and leadership, with an emphasis on the African woman in the diaspora. Our coverage includes stories on capital, access to markets, expertise, hiring and retention, sales, marketing, and promotions.