Out-of-the-Box Ideas for Building Your Personal Brand
If you want to get the most out of your networking efforts, both online and offline, then you’ll want to focus on building an authentic and memorable personal brand.
What do colleagues and clients remember first when they think of you?
You’ve likely heard all the conventional advice about brand building – be a thought leader, specialize in a niche, and produce valuable content. But if you want to be remembered as a unique individual, then you’ll need to build your brand in some out-of-the-box ways that demonstrate your creativity and intelligence.
You’ve tried all the other advice, and now you’re ready to try something new and innovative to take your personal brand to the next level. In this article, we’ll share some uncommon yet effective tips so you can start experimenting with them today.
Be the Opposite of What People Expect
First, you’ll want to think about all the most common stereotypes associated with your role.
For example, leaders, in general, are often considered to be extroverted and bold, while tech business owners are sometimes introverted and a little bit quirky. If you have a unique personality trait that goes against the grain, then you’ll want to fully own it and communicate that to other people.
For example, if you’re a leader who’s introverted and quiet, then you’ll want to feel proud of that and demonstrate how it sets you apart from other people. If your field is full of the brash and the loud and you’re more thoughtful and soft-spoken, that will make people lean forward to listen to you — and when you do get loud, it’ll be twice as effective as someone for whom loud is the default setting. If you’re passionate and emotional in a more intellectual field (or vice-versa), don’t try to change. Instead, embrace your strength and allow it to lift you up.
That way, people will remember and appreciate your unusual traits.
Share Your Unique Hobby
Do you enjoy participating in a niche hobby like origami, hot yoga, or Frisbee golf? Your hobby makes you an individual, and you can find ways to associate it with your personal brand.
You may not think that Frisbee golf has anything to do with running a successful business. However, if you’re creative, you can tie the two topics together in some interesting blog posts. Or, you can share photos of yourself enjoying your hobby on social media, so other people can see that you’re a real person with interests outside of work.
Entrepreneurs enjoy all kinds of oddball hobbies. Kurt Uhlir, the founder of Sideqik, is a survivalist and alligator wrangler. James Daily, one of the founders of Daily Law Group, spends his off-time as a volunteer Sheriff’s deputy in Orange County. Shigeru Miyamoto, former CEO of Nintendo and legendary creator of Mario, carries a tape measure with him because his hobby is to guess the length of objects around him.
They don’t shy away from those hobbies, and neither should you. Success has never about fitting in and going unnoticed — you can instead stand out and build your entire personal brand on sharing your unique passion.
Whether you enjoy making your own gadgets, recording your tambourine music, or building home-made ultralights to fly, don’t hide your light under a bushel. Share it, and watch as fascination with your hobby turns into fascination with you and your business.
Own and Celebrate Your Quirks
Some business leaders try to hide the things about themselves that make them appear different from the status quo.
For example, they may try to disguise an accent because they feel self-conscious about sounding different, or they may want to wear conservative clothing when they really want to dress in neon. Once you become true to yourself and your quirks, then you will come across as more authentic to others.
Just because you think something is “unprofessional” doesn’t mean it will harm your reputation. In fact, your desire to dye our hair pink will help you stand out in a sea of pinstripe suits. Be true to yourself! The psychology of fashion is well-documented, so don’t be afraid to wear bright colors or quirky fashion if it suits you. You might be surprised how well people respond to more unorthodox dress.
Personal Branding is About Being Memorable
Branding is all about two things: consistency and communication. Consistency comes easily when you’re being yourself — if you’re not changing constantly to fit trends or perceived pressures, you’ll end up being consistent by default. You’ll be the version of yourself that comes naturally to you, which takes far less effort than trying to fabricate a persona and stick to it.
The half of the equation, communication is achieved by expressing who you are to the people around you, to the people you’re trying to attract. When you’re clear about who you are, what you like to do with your spare time, and how you dress and act and think, people will find you interesting and even trustworthy.
Don’t be afraid to embrace the unusual, especially if the unusual better communicates who you really are.