The International Coach Federation (ICF) sponsored Personal Branding expert William Arruda to talk to coaches about the importance of personal branding and how it is critical for business success. Why is this important to you? Whether you are in business or not, brand matters.
Arruda shared quite a bit of interesting information, the highlights of which follow.
- As human beings, our full-time pathology, Arruda notes, is to focus on our weaknesses. Think about it. In performance evaluations, our bosses focus more on what we need to correct than what we did well. In school, our teachers focus on what we need to improve more than what we successfully achieved. Our parents strive to make us better so we can succeed in our lives. It’s human nature. Arruda notes that we need to focus on our strengths, understand what we do well, and then articulate those strengths as part of our brand. If you’re interested in learning more about your strengths, you can take this inexpensive assessment called StrengthsFinder.
- Know your competition. This works for entrepreneurs, businesses and individuals in career transition. Know how you are alike compared to your competition. More importantly, know how you are different and exploit these differences when you talk about yourself to others, promote your skills, and articulate your brand.
- What is your online visibility factor? People–your customers, your employers, and people interested in building relationships with you–are looking for you online and forming opinions as to how or if they want to talk further. Arruda shared this interesting website that helps you track your Online Identity.
- Get professional assistance. Whether you check out the helpful information on a site such as personalbranding.tv or hire a professional coach, branding is not the future, it is now. Arruda notes, “If you don’t stand out, you are a commodity and commodities compete on price.” You are more than a number, right?
A few “local” tips to help you stand out include:
- Include Columbus, Ohio in your online bios and searchable profiles. People look for others based on shared connections and a geographical location is a strong shared connection.
- Meet new people. If you’re hanging out at the local coffee joint such as Crimson Cup, which has developed its brand to be the local, quality bean, anti-coffee conglomerate, get to know the people who know the people. Baristas are friendly folk and love to help make connections.
- Check your local Meetup groups. Columbus Meetups offer a variety of Meetups for all styles and tastes. Find yours and make it your own. Be sure your group affiliations reflect your interests and the message you want other to receive.
Most importantly, and as confirmed by Arruda, make sure your brand authentically represents you and is true to who you are. Nobody but you will be living it.