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Building your Personal Brand in 2016

By Eliza Bostian

February and March are great times to hone in on planning for a very critical but too-often-forgotten brand – our own. It’s no secret that we’re fully immersed in the “Digital Age”. The question is no longer IF you have a personal brand, but what message it’s sending colleagues, clients, potential employers and just about everyone else with access to the internet. In order to stay relevant in the business world, we should be continually crafting our own personal brands. Building a personal brand doesn’t result in a finished product, but is an ongoing process of tweaking our image and the messages we’re sending to stay current in the midst of the rapidly changing world around us.

Here are a few tips from industry experts that can serve as food for thought while building your personal brand in the year ahead:

  1. Show your passion. The Huffington Post recently featured a video Q&A with Shark Tank investor Daymond John (view it here). A successful entrepreneur and investor turned television personality, author and motivational speaker, John brings a great perspective on building our own brands. One of the best pieces of advice he gives is simple: tap into your passion. John advises us to share what we are passionate about to increase our following on social networks and up the game of our personal brands. People are tapping into our online footprint every day to see what we’re up to. What we are putting out there doesn’t have to be “all business” – start sharing what you’re passionate about, show some enthusiasm – and people will keep coming back for more.
  2. Be transparent. Another recent article, this one posted by Fortune, features an interview by Leonard Kim, a once homeless man who has built a top tiered network of some of the most successful people in the business world. Kim now runs InfluenceTree, where he and his team teach entrepreneurs how to build their personal brands. He brings to light another simple – yet often overlooked – piece of advice for building our own brands. “You need to hone in and be 100% honest,” he says. This can be a scary thought for many – especially those of us who have successfully crafted a near “perfect image” in our professional lives. However, Kim says that sharing about a failure or weakness makes people resonate with us. He states, “By being transparent, you are making a direct connection with each of your readers who have gone through the same, if not similar experiences in life.” After all, aren’t these the types of connections we’re all looking for?
  3. Get involved in the conversation. Another Huffington Post article, this one by Digital Marketer and SEO Analyst Lexi Herrick, emphasizes the importance of getting involved in the conversation. Herrick states that, “No matter what your interest is, engineering, finance, crafting, business, fashion or anything else that you have a background in, there’s a place for you to contribute.” We all have a valuable perspective to share, and Herrick reminds us that by joining our own industry’s conversation simply by chiming in, we’re establishing ourselves as thought leaders. Herrick says, “This not only shows to anyone in your professional realm that you are interested and credible, but it builds your own confidence in articulating your ideas in new conversations.”

As we continue to move through 2016, let’s challenge ourselves to set aside some time – maybe it’s 30 minutes a week or a monthly check-in – to work on building our own brand. Clients and jobs may come and go, but our personal brands are timeless.

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