Your personal brand is who you are as your authentic self, but that doesn’t mean you need to be passive in its creation. Crafting and curating your personal brand is becoming more and more important and I firmly believe that YOU have the power to decide how you want to be perceived by people, especially in this digital age.
In this episode, I’m sharing about what your personal brand is and how you can be more intentional about the way you show up in the world.
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[00:00:00] Hi, there I’m Bec McFarland the host of the Pop Your Career Podcast. As a career coach, I’m most passionate about helping my clients to discover their own personal flavour of career fulfillment. In this podcast, we are going to be exploring ways that you too can feel more fulfilled by your work. So strap yourself in, get ready for the ride. The tips around here are fast and in abundance.
[00:00:29] Hello, hello, it is Bec McFarland here. I’m sure that’s no surprise, I’m helping you to do better and be better in your career. And today’s episode is all about nailing your personal brand. Now, a lot of people ask me like, what is a personal brand anyway, and why is it so important if I’m in a traditional career?
[00:00:57] Because it kind of makes sense if you’re [00:01:00] in business, that personal branding or branding in general is something that you really need to be thinking about. But if you are not in business, what’s that all about? Like why do we even need to be thinking about this stuff?
[00:01:13] In today’s episode, I really want to unpack that for you. I want to explain to you what a personal brand is, how you can curate your personal brand and why you might want to in the first place.
[00:01:26] Before we start though, I am going to read you a quote. If you’ve been in my community for a while, you possibly know that I’m really not a huge fan of Gary Vaynerchuk, but I do love his personal brand and I love the way that he explains it.
[00:01:44] He says ‘it’s important to build a personal brand because it’s the only thing you are going to have. Your reputation online and in the new business world is pretty much the game. So you’ve got to be a good person. You can’t hide anything. And more [00:02:00] importantly, you’ve got to be out there at some level’.
[00:02:03] So again, that quote was from Gary Vaynerchuk, who, if you’re not familiar with him, uh, he is extremely boisterous and although he’s not really my cup of tea, I can accept that the man absolutely knows his stuff and he has a lot of really, really great stuff to say.
[00:02:24] So what is a personal brand like? What does that even mean? Well, in short, a personal brand is the way that other people perceive you. It is the experience that they have when they interact with you. It relates to your reputation, the way that you behave, communicate, the way you promote yourself, the way you provide service or value, and the overall vibe that you provide.
[00:02:55] So really it’s the way that other people are [00:03:00] experiencing you and what you are putting out there for them. So, to break it down even further, your personal brand covers so many things. A lot of people assume that like branding is just about like logos and colours and pretty things, right? But it’s not.
[00:03:18] It’s how you dress, how you speak, it’s your language. Who you are online, who you offline. It’s to do with your values, the value that you add, your skills, your experience, personality, passions, interests, the way that you collaborate with other people. It is basically everything about you.
[00:03:39] So when I think about my own personal brand, I really think about each of these things and I’m like, Okay, like who am I? How do these things appear naturally? But also, how do I want other people to perceive me? What do I want other people to think [00:04:00] and to experience when they come across me? Whether that be at an online event or on a podcast, at a networking function. Anything, right? What do I want that first impression to be? That is all about the personal brand.
[00:04:18] So as an employee, why do you need to be conscious of your personal brand? Well, it’s because of the fact that your personal brand can impact and affect the way that people respond to you. You want to be thinking about how to get better outcomes in the workplace, and your personal brand can absolutely have an impact on that.
[00:04:40] Of course, you also want to think how you can get better outcomes if you’re in the job market or you’re looking for your next opportunity. You know it’s impacting the relationships that you are developing and influencing opportunities that are available to you. When you are actually intentional about your personal brand, you’re basically positioning [00:05:00] yourself in the market.
[00:05:01] Now, if you think about that from a product perspective, you know, we see different products positioned in the market all the time. You’ve got your budget, $1 home brand can of soup, and then you’ve got the luxury up market more like bougie can of soup, might even be in a sachet or something like that, right?
[00:05:25] There’s nothing wrong with the budget can of soup, but the budget can of soup and the bougie sachet of soup are both trying to attract a different market, a different audience, and realistically you are trying to attract an audience in everything that you. You really need to think about how you want to position yourself.
[00:05:49] What kind of impression do you want people to get? Like do you want people to get that you are the like cheap and cheerful, that you are really low [00:06:00] key that you’re relaxed, or do you want to be like up market and Nicki Minaj and sparkles and glitter and rainbows and unicorns? You know, it’s completely up to you. Don’t be surprised that whatever you choose impacts upon the results that you get.
[00:06:19] The beautiful thing about personal branding and the way that you curate it is that your personal brand can evolve. When I think about celebrities, I think about people like Madonna or even Justin Bieber, who are a hell of a lot different now than what they were when they first started. And we can see that over time they’ve gone through this beautiful evolution where they have changed and the way that they present themselves to the public has changed. You can do that too. So if your personal brand is currently giving a certain type of vibe and you want that to [00:07:00] change, then it’s totally okay to be intentional about the way that you evolve and change and shift over time.
[00:07:07] And I think this happens naturally as we age and we gain more experience and you know, potentially as we climb ladders and end up in more senior positions. But it doesn’t have to happen naturally. It doesn’t have to just be something that happens to you. It is okay for you to take charge, take control, and make choices about the way that you want to be perceived.
[00:07:34] Now, just on that, a lot of people ask me if it’s inauthentic or like not genuine to craft or curate your personal brand, and I don’t think it is the case. However, I think that some people do it really extremely, and it could be seen as being inauthentic or not genuine, even to the lengths of being manipulative.[00:08:00]
[00:08:00] When I’m talking about curating and crafting your personal brand, I’m really not talking about like just pretending that you are someone else. I don’t think that really serves you and it doesn’t serve a potential employer. It really doesn’t serve anyone because eventually the truth is always going to come out.
[00:08:20] But when I think about like being intentional and really thinking about the way that you want to be perceived, it’s almost like you are emphasizing certain parts of who you already are. You know, like an Instagram filter. You are emphasizing certain features, bringing certain things to the forefront, accentuating them, drawing attention to them, and potentially letting other parts of your personal brand personality or behavioural style slip into the background because maybe they’re just not as important or they don’t play a big part in the way that you want to be perceived by the outside world. [00:09:00] So I hope that answers that question and makes you feel that you can be intentional about your personal brand, but also do it in a really authentic way.
[00:09:12] So as you are being intentional and thinking about the way that you want others to see you, I would ask yourself some questions, and this can relate both to your online and offline profiles, but like what experience do you want people to have when they meet you? What do you want people to notice about you and the way that you present?
[00:09:33] What story are you telling with the way that you walk and communicate and dress and collaborate? What do you want people to say when describing you to others and is your personal brand in alignment with your career values? These things are all really important, and again, all things that are already happening fairly naturally, but you have the power to change perception. You [00:10:00] have the power to be able to impact other people’s experience in a different way. By tweaking and changing some of these things and just thinking in advance about the way that you want to come across.
[00:10:11] This episode is brought to you by the Career Clarity Quest, my absolutely free, seven day program, which is designed to support you in getting so much clearer about your next steps. Find it at PopYourCareer.com/quest. I want to talk specifically about your personal brand online because I think as we move more and more into this internet driven world, it becomes so much more important and it is really important for all of us to have a little bit of an awareness about what is actually being said about us online, what is actually happening. I’m going to pause for a minute here, and I just want to tell you a little bit of a story about a realization that I came to about my personal [00:11:00] brand and the way that I was being presented online.
[00:11:03] So it’s no secret that I was not well liked during school. So from about year six, right through to the end of my schooling, I was bullied pretty intensely. I don’t really want to get into all of the gory details because I try not to think too much about it or spend too much time dwelling on the past. But I can tell you that those experiences have definitely impacted me and they have shaped who I am as a human.
[00:11:33] Now, many years ago, I lived in Brisbane for a little while and I worked as a debt collector, which was a really interesting job, to be honest. I know it doesn’t necessarily always sound like the coolest job, but it was really very interesting because a lot of the work that I did in that role was to do a skip tracing. So it was about trying to [00:12:00] find people who may have disappeared and they hadn’t been paying their bills. So as part of the training in that role, our trainer asked everybody to Google ourselves because this was one of the tools that we would use to find out information about the people that we were looking for.
[00:12:18] And when I Googled myself, I saw, you know, the usual, kindest stuff popping up about like LinkedIn and social media profiles and stuff like that. And I also came across this forum. It was a forum that had been set up by people that I used to know, and there was a photograph of a very overweight woman who was positioned in a very unattractive pose in a situation where there were like pornographic connotations, Let’s say.[00:13:00]
[00:13:00] And underneath this photo was a comment, ‘ This looks just like Bec and my full name at the time, my maiden name.
[00:13:13] Now, I was pretty shocked to see this, and honestly, like I was pretty upset because I hadn’t been in school in years. I hadn’t seen these people in years. I was out here just like trying to move on and live my life away from the bullying and general, just disgusting behaviour of other horrible humans that I went to school with.
[00:13:45] And so it was really heartbreaking to see this, especially like in the first week of a new job. It was just, it was absolutely horrific. But you know what? I’m not the only [00:14:00] one who has stuff like that out there on the internet and doesn’t know about it. Now, fortunately I managed to get that taken down. So no longer when you search for my maiden name, will you find that image. Thank God.
[00:14:17] And definitely, you know, it was a whole experience in making that happen. But now I’m a lot more careful about Googling myself regularly and scouring the internet to make sure that the information that is out there about me that has my name attributed to it, is the kind of information that I want people to see.
[00:14:43] Now, does this mean that I want you to spend half of your life googling yourself and getting caught up in like ego and seeing what is out there? No. You don’t need to spend a whole lot of time doing this. But you know what? If you were to just pop your name into Google once every [00:15:00] six or 12 months and just see what’s going on, then perhaps you’d be able to avoid a really embarrassing situation like I faced in my first week of that job.
[00:15:11] And of course the most embarrassing thing about this was that I didn’t know who else had seen it. You know, it could have been there for years. I didn’t know how long it had been there for. It had been years upon years since I’d seen these silly boys, so I didn’t know how long it had been out there circulating around on the interweb, so I didn’t know how many potential employers had Googled me and found that come up.
[00:15:36] I didn’t know how many potential partners or friends, or just other people in general could’ve Googled me to find out information about me and who have come across this and I didn’t know how that would impact their perception of me.
[00:15:51] So when you’re crafting your personal brand online, it’s worth just having a little bit of a think not only about the information that you are putting out there, but also the [00:16:00] information that other people are putting out there.
[00:16:02] So I’d be looking at your LinkedIn, at your social media profiles and oh my gosh, please make sure that your social media profiles are locked down. There are certain things that do not need to be public. I have seen way too many tweets where people have said things on the internet that they have later regretted and wished that they hadn’t done so, and that it has really impacted upon their employment opportunities.
[00:16:27] I want you to think about whether the content that you’re sharing on your social media does actually align with your personal brand, and does it align with your values? What are people seeing when they are plugging your name into all of these different social media platforms that we have around here lately? And like, what do you want people to think or feel when they come across one of those profiles?
[00:16:48] This is something that, as a business owner, I think about a lot, and I am very intentional about what I share and how I share it and how locked down it is when I share it. But I have [00:17:00] definitely come to terms with the fact that my social media profile is absolutely a reflection of my personal brand and that I am not for everyone. And that there are going to be people out there who are going to see my content and it’s not going to resonate, and that’s totally okay, but I’m making that choice.
[00:17:22] There are some other ways that you can continue to explore your personal brand and to craft it in a way that shares your expertise and sets you up as an expert or influential person within your field. This could include doing things like having a personal website or a blog responding to things like Source Bottle or Harro requests. It could be that you look for ways to get public speaking opportunities to be able to share your expertise so that you are seen as being a thought leader in your field, which can continue to build upon your brand.
[00:17:57] I would just like to point out though that depending on [00:18:00] your industry and where you work, you may need to be careful about the opinions that you share online. I would always make sure that you are fully abreast of your organization’s social media policy and what they allow, and if there are any specific comments that you need to make about the opinions and whether or not they are shared by your employer.
[00:18:22] As I mentioned, your personal brand will continue to evolve into the future, and the more intentional that you can be about that, the better the results that you’ll have. But I know that there are going to be people out there who are like, ‘Bec, how do we make that happen? How do we evolve our personal brand?’
[00:18:40] So here are just a few final tips. The first is I would love for you to just consider. Who you want to be and how you want to achieve. You can use the act as if technique, which basically means that you’re modeling the success of those people who have already achieved the goals that you’re chasing. Now, this [00:19:00] is a really poor and superficial example, but if you know that you want to be a super successful CEO and all of the super successful CEO, that are in your orbit are getting up at [5:00] AM in the morning and following a strict morning routine, then one way that you might be able to evolve your personal brand is by acting as if and modeling some of those behaviours that those people are putting in place in order to achieve what they have achieved.
[00:19:29] Be the person that you want to be. So we all know the saying, fake it until you make it. But I think Amy Cutty said it in her TED talk that instead, if you focus on faking it until you become it, then you’ll get a lot further. Always check in with your values and just notice what feels right. If authenticity is important to you, then you will know by the feeling [00:20:00] that you get when you undertake certain tasks and behaviours.
[00:20:04] So we call it a gut feel or intuition. Whatever feels good for you. But just check in and just notice like, what is coming up for me right now? What does feel right? Does this feel authentic? Does this feel like me?
[00:20:18] And finally, you’ve heard me say the word over and over and over again throughout this episode, but be intentional. Don’t just let your career happen to you. You are in the driver’s seat. You get to make the choice and make it a good one.
[00:20:34] Have an amazing week. Thank you for listening, and I will catch you in next week’s episode. Bye-bye now.
[00:20:41] Thanks so much for listening to the Pop Your Career podcast. I hope that you’ve enjoyed today’s tips and that you found value in what I’ve shared with you. If you like your career advice quick and entertaining, I would love for you to subscribe. Also leave me a rating and a [00:21:00] review. If you want to continue the conversation, come and join me over on social media. You can find me everywhere at Pop Your Career. I’ll see you soon.