Say what you will about Kim Kardashian and her controversial beginnings, there’s no denying she has an unshakable and well established personal brand. With over 55 million Instagram followers, Kim’s personal brand (worth more than USD 52 million according to Forbes) helped her build an empire of TV shows, beauty/fashion lines, mobile games, a book and most recently her own set of emojis (called Kimoji). A quick Google search on the terms ‘Kim Kardashian’ and ‘personal brand’ will reveal the hundreds of articles written on the subject, so let me move on.
The exact nature of her personal brand is irrelevant to this article – but it does give us a benchmark for how powerful a personal brand can be. Why do I bring it up? I believe 2016 will be the year of personal branding. There used to be a time when only celebrities, politicians or CEOs had the resources to develop their ‘personal brand’ – but that’s no longer the case. The rise of publishing tools (like LinkedIn Pulse) and social media means everyone finally has the ability to forge a personal brand so solid it could be the reason they get their next big sale, promotion or even new career.
On the flip side, if you already use social media, you could already be unintentionally creating a personal brand with values which don’t accurately represent your ambitions. If you think your current or future clients, boss, customers aren’t forming an opinion about who you are based on how you act online and offline, you are mistaken. Whenever I see a post from someone (even it is from their personal account), it registers in my mind and overtime it shapes my opinion of them.
If you’re keen on doing something this year to build your career or change your life, here’s my advice: take your personal brand seriously and approach it with focus and careful thought. In particular, consider using this four-step process.
Identify your mission and values: Spend some time thinking about what kind of a life you want to lead and the legacy you want to leave. What are you trying to accomplish? What are your top values in life? Articulate your findings with your own personal mission statement.
What will success look like for your personal brand? Just as brands mature and evolve, so too will your personal brand. If you had it your way, what would your personal brand look like in five or ten years? Knowing this will help you track your progress by measuring success metrics regularly.
Create a strategy: If you can visualize point #2 then you’re in a good position to create a strategy. Think about the kind of thought leadership, views and opinions you should (and shouldn’t) articulate to enrich your brand.
Start with social: Should you start blogging on LinkedIn? Are there any industry specific groups on Facebook you should connect with? Are you following the thought leaders who inspire you the most on Twitter? Don’t forget to review your current social presence. Perhaps you should untag yourself in a few pictures or delete a few tweets.
Having this kind of laser sharp focus will help you stay on top of your brand and, trust me, people will begin to notice. You will begin to start make waves – if not in your current job, then in your wider social network. Your personal brand is so much larger than your career, it encompasses your family, friends and social circles. You won’t just be keeping up with the Kardashians, but with the people who truly matter to you.
Have you ever met anyone who has an excellent personal brand? What made their brand so impressive and what did you learn from them? Let me know in the comment section.
This article was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.