Manage Your Personal Brand Like a Reality TV Star. Or a Senator.

By Natalie Cheel

When most people think of branding they typically think of something visual, such as a logo or corporate colors or advertising campaign. But branding is not always just about companies. One area of branding that is frequently overlooked is the man, or woman, in the mirror. (Cue the Michael Jackson)

When people think about you, what is the first thing that comes to mind? What imprint do you leave after meeting someone for the first time? Those impressions are what shapes your personal brand.

Every individual has a personal brand. It’s how people remember you and how you make them feel. It’s what you are known for and what people seek you out for. It’s about being authentic to who you are as an individual but also curating it to be your best self.

Take for example, our friend, Kim Kardashian. (Stay with me. I can see your eyes rolling.) Kim has built an empire on her personal brand. She’s been criticized for being famous for no talent, but one thing she executes beautifully is curating her image. She’s become the queen of social media by carefully selecting what images she shares and what products she endorses. Whether you love her or hate her, you can’t argue with the success of her personal branding.

If the Kardashians are not your thing, take a look at our State Senator Patty Murray. She’s been in office since 1993 and has fully embraced the ‘just another mother in tennis shoes’ perception. She’s won the trust of hundreds of thousands of voters by intentionally shaping her personal brand as a relatable person. Her annual fundraiser, fittingly named the Golden Tennis Shoe Awards, always drives her brand as a leader who authentically understands her constituents.

From what stories you share to the clothes you wear, a strong personal brand is about putting your best self forward. How you interact with people, your loyalty, and your demeanor are types of imprints that you have the opportunity to shape. With just a little intention, you can impact the perception people have of you.

So the question is, do you choose to guide and cultivate your personal brand or let others define it for you?

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