We have this strange capacity to ignore our own personal branding. It is ironic to see people pay so much attention to their personal appearance and ignore how they are perceived with their online presence, their digital assets and their personal PR circulating to the world with one search or click of a button.
Try Googling your name and see what comes up. What would someone’s first impression of you be after they just met you and wanted to find out a few things about you from their iPhone or computer? There’s a trail that is a permanent record out there.
The worst perpetrators who damage their personal branding are those that can’t even get a decent email address. Using an AOL address shows a person who is out of touch. A Yahoo! email for doing business is comical. If you go through the trouble of naming your company and trying to tell people who you do business as, then branding has to be congruent across all channels, including your email.
Your phone system, social profiles, social connections, Google authorship, blog, website and content should all carry a congruent message of your quality and how you do business with the world. Of course, this can all be a mere ruse if you are not the real thing. If I see all of this and shake your hand only to realize you don’t know anything, then your branding was a lie. It was lipstick on a pig, per se. Hopefully, that is not what you are doing. If it is, work on the inside in addition to the outside.
The world we live in today is emphasizing microbrands more than ever. You are a brand, whether you wanted it or not. The number of gigs you will do before you die or retire will be numerous. That trail of content, systems and platforms is immortal. Google made sure there’s a copy of it all.
If you go through the trouble of presenting yourself professionally to the world with a nice car, great clothes and having something interesting to say and offer, then get your personal branding in order. Otherwise, you may never know about the unspoken misperceptions others have of you for not caring enough or showing a congruent appearance.
If you don’t do it, then there are plenty of other people like you that will and the shame today is that we can find them. Personal branding is not a personal thing anymore.
So, what’s missing in your personal brand that can be better? What will you do to change it and make it congruent?