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Is your personal brand at risk?

When you hear the word “brand,” you may think of a specific company, the field of marketing or even picture a specific logo. However, brands are not only for large corporations. Each individual, including you, is stamped with a personal brand. Managing your brand takes work, and failing to look into, and improve, your brand can have negative consequences in both your professional and personal lives.

What is a personal brand?

A personal brand encompasses how others perceive you. It is your public image and reputation. Before the internet, personal bands were based on personal and professional reputations. These reputations were communicated from person to person through conversation. Now, a person’s brand is increasingly developed and stored online.

Why should I care?

Personal brands are more important than ever. The internet allows anyone to search your name and create an impression of you almost instantaneously. These first impressions can affect your chances of being hired for a new job, approved for an apartment or admitted to a school.

How do I know what my personal brand is?

Search your name on a web browser:

  • What articles pop up?
  • What images are tied to your name?
  • Do other people with the same name appear under your search?
  • Is the information positive or negative?
  • Is your social media information visible? If so, what can you see?

Keep a list of what appears when you search your name. Pretend that you are a stranger viewing this information for the first time. What would you think about this person? Jot down your first impressions. This will give you a good idea of how a third party would judge your information.

All of the above information affects your online image and personal brand. It determines whether people will see you as responsible and successful, or unprofessional and perhaps even dangerous.

Can I manage my personal brand?

Fortunately, you have the power to manage your personal brand. If you are unhappy with your online image, there are ways to improve it.

  1. Secure your social media pages with tighter visibility controls so that your photos and posts are private.
  2. Create content that you want associated with your name. Maintaining a blog can be a great way to post content related to the industry you work in, volunteer work you complete or one of your hobbies.
  3. Work with a professional to manage your online brand. Depending upon your situation, a professional may work with you to:
  • Remove negative information.
  • Develop favorable content on your behalf.
  • Monitor, and manage, your online presence.
  • Create a custom solution to fit your brand needs.

If you want to read more information about your personal brand, check out Forbes’ article about building a personal brand. Even taking a few steps towards strengthening your brand can make a big difference on your public perception, and increase your online credibility.

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