What is the big deal about Personal Branding? To be blunt – everything because it is about you and the impression you want to make with other people – whether they are co-workers, bosses, friends, recruiting agents or employers. Let’s be honest, what people think or how they feel about you can directly affect your career or business.

Think about product branding when you go to the grocery store, there are probably some products you buy based on their brand name – such as, some of my favorites are: Pepperidge Farms Croutons and Knorr Vegetable Bouillon.

If the store is out of stock or decides not to carry the product, I shift to a grocer that carries my favorite products. While I am at the new store, I buy other groceries so the first store loses out on my business. The first store may never get a chance to win me over again unless I go there and find my brand name products back on the shelf.

Why am I so loyal to those brands? Bottom line – I know what to expect when I buy the products; there is a clear value proposition. Quality is consistent and I understand how I can use those products when I prepare my meals. Both companies have developed trust with me.

How does that story relate to your personal brand? Ask yourself:

  • Do people know what to expect when they work or interact with you?
  • Are you consistent in what you say, how you say it or what you stand for?
  • How well can you communicate your value proposition?
  • Do you stumble when someone asks “What’s your story?” or “Tell me about yourself.”?
  • Do you cultivate trust with others?
  • How well are you “walking the talk”?
  • Do you know what other people think of you? Is their perception different from what you think or hope to be?
  • Are you confident with a healthy ego?
  • Does your team or organization get what’s important to you or what stand for?

These questions underpin your personal brand development. If you describe yourself inconsistently or communicate with low confidence, it’s a clear signal – your personal brand is suffering.

Depending on your situation, you may need to refine your personal brand message or start with basic confidence building and value proposition development.

Let’s say you decide to work on your personal brand. Here are some of the situations where having a clear personal brand will be useful:

  • Instead of being uneasy with your 30 second elevator speech, you will exude more confidence with a personal brand statement.
  • Avoid wasting time on organizations whose cultures are misfits.
  • Interview more effectively with clear and consistent responses.
  • Colleagues and bosses will articulate your strengths and actively promote you.
  • Networking events become easier to navigate because you are talking about what you believe in and not what someone has told you to say.
  • Increase your messaging consistency – refine your résumé, CV, marketing materials and other social media channels (Facebook, blogging, Twitter) to reflect your personal brand statement.
  • Improve team and organizational effectiveness and confidence.

It really doesn’t matter if you are in a job search process or you are now employed – honing your personal brand it can pay off dividends. How has branding helped you or what kind of challenges are you facing as you develop you own personal brand statement?