You won't get a second chance to make a good first impression for a very good reason -- opinions people have are centered around perception.
If you own a small business, you're probably well aware of the need to present products or services in a way that is appealing to your intended audience. This same concept is true when it comes to how you present yourself. Welcome to the world of personal branding.
What Is Personal Branding?
The easiest way to understand what branding is when applied to a person is to think of your favorite celebrities or sports stars. Each one has a specific image and they are essentially their own brand. In a professional sense, personal branding is the image you present when representing your business. In a broad sense it refers to:
- Your unique selling points
- How you present yourself to anyone you encounter
- What words or phrases people often associate with you
Your Personal Brand and Networking
Personal and professional connections can be valuable resources and potential sources of new opportunities. Each encounter with someone in your profession or industry presents a chance to make a positive impression. Achieve this goal by thinking about things like your color scheme and your overall business look in terms of what's appropriate for the image you want to convey.
Connecting with Your Business
Defining your personal brand starts with having a solid understanding of how your business is perceived. If you run a local beauty salon, customers are going to expect you to have a stylish, trendy look. If you're operating a real estate agency, potential buyers and sellers are more likely to be impressed if you present an image that suggests confidence. Further define your personal brand by identifying your:
- Values: Determine what matters most to you and get those values in line with your image.
- Passions: Once you know what drives you, it's easier to connect those passions with the actions you take and how you carry out those tasks.
- Differentiation: Embrace what makes you stand out from the crowd in how you present yourself and represent your business.
- Purpose: Knowing your purpose, or why you're doing what you do and what you hope to achieve, will help you make confident, purposeful decisions.
Better Reflecting Your Business Brand
When branding includes your personal attributes, general appearance, and overall persona, you have the opportunity to act as extension of your existing business brand. This is especially helpful if you're launching a new business or trying to develop a better connection with your customers.
Never underestimate the power of perception. Successful branding that includes how you present yourself can have a ripple effect on everything from whether or not a customer chooses your business over a competitor to the daily connections you make and the resulting relationships that come from those interactions. It's a process that can benefit anyone who wants to make the most of their unique attributes and fine-tune their personal and professional style.