How to Leverage your Personal Brand to Get You Ahead
Syama Meagher is a retail strategist for brands and retailers. She helps entrepreneurs launch and grow fashion business through ecommerce, wholesale and brick & mortar. Syama has previously worked with Barneys New York, Gucci, AHAlife and Macy’s. To build your brand and create a profitable business, visit the Scaling Retail website or email Syama directly! Continue reading to learn how to leverage your personal brand to get you ahead! Imagine the PR version of yourself — this is your personal brand. Everything that is Google-able about you, every public social media account, and even your LinkedIn profile — all of it. Learning how to leverage your personal brand can help with your next job, career shift, or entrepreneurial endeavor. Many entrepreneurs I work with have a strong personal brand, and they have a significantly easier time launching and getting visibility.
Defining Your Goals
Knowing how you want to leverage your brand is important. Are you looking to position yourself as a thought leader? Entrepreneur? Stylist? Influencer? Maybe its as simple as getting a new job, or prepping for the memoir you’re hoping to write one day. Take 30 minutes and write down what you want to get out of life, what your ambitions are, and ask yourself how a strong personal brand might assist you in reaching that. Then, write down the qualities, skills or experiences you need to achieve it all. Its perfectly normal to have aspirational goals — we all need to reach for something, and those goals will be the driving force between choosing which conferences, parties, and events to attend.
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Crafting Your Brand
Defining what you stand for and who you are is a personal question — and disclosing that information is a personal choice. A good example is Natalie Massenet, founder of Net-a-Porter, because I love how she curates her personal brand. Her Instagram posts are both personal and professional, and she makes the circuit with interviews and speaking opportunities. On a smaller scale, take a look at Kestrel Jenkins, founder of AWEAR. Her podcast, Conscious Chatter, has become a go-to for sustainable fashion lovers globally. Kestrel’s personal Instagram is more curated and less raw. When you Google her name, you’ll see interviews and a very clear idea of who she is and what she stands for.
So, what does your branding say about you? If I Google’d your name, what types of articles, interviews or social media would come up? If you’re unclear about what your digital footprint says about you, then it is time to start crafting your story and ask yourself what type of content you need to support that. Content will include images on Instagram, native and shared content on Facebook, articles on LinkedIn, a personal branded website and possibly a blog. Think about your audience and community and where they will be looking to absorb content. 20% of your brand is the content you put out and 80% is what people think and say about you.
Tip: I tell all my clients — Don’t try to master every social media channel. Pick your favorites and master them!
The topic of leverage is very important. Leverage is your capacity to take one experience and use it to create additional experiences. A great example is how every job seeker takes all of their previous experiences and highlights the relevant aspects to get a new job. They spin and leverage what they’ve done to create new opportunities. Another very familiar example is the rise of the Instagram or Vlogger influencer. They have built-in audiences that they then leverage for payment in exchange for exposure.
How you choose to leverage your brand rests on what kind of value you have to offer and how people perceive you. A good exercise is to ask your peers what you think of each other’s personal brand. This doesn’t have any bearing on who you are as a human being, but rather your content and how you choose to represent yourself. Share your goals and workshop how you want to get there!
If you take the time to build platforms for your brand, go the extra mile to ensure people see it! Attach your personal platforms in your email signature and add your accounts to LinkedIn. Be intentional and authentic across all channels. That doesn’t mean you won’t use Photoshop to an edit a photo, but that you won’t lie about your accomplishments or create a false image of yourself. These days it’s easier than ever to know if someone is faking the funk. Potential collaborators, employers, and employees will search you online when assessing your brand, so be mindful.
I’m excited to see how you craft your brand and leverage it to move ahead with your goals!