At some point in life, virtually everyone has to sell themselves—whether it’s to prospective employers, customers, investors, partners or (hopefully never) jurors. Which is why it’s worth taking the time to consider your own personal brand.
If a brand is typically what comes to mind when you think of a company or product, ask yourself: What comes to mind when others think of you? Just as importantly, what do you want others to think? If you get different answers to those two questions, there’s a disconnect between your brand and your brand aspiration.
If you’re good at self-evaluation, you’ll know what you need to change in order to achieve your brand aspiration. At the same time, it never hurts to consult others. Everyone loves being asked for advice.
The necessary changes could be as simple as the way you dress, or as serious as the way you treat others at work and home. It could be you need to invest in self-improvement (IE, through continuing education).
Regardless, a truly effective personal brand has to be an authentic reflection of the product itself: You. Therefore, let us never forget the enduring wisdom perhaps best expressed in Marvin and Tammi’s timeless 1968 classic: Ain’t nothing like the real thing. Baby.
Francis Hare is the President and CEO of Hare Communications.