When was the last time you gave some thought to your personal brand? No matter where you journey in life, or what new horizons may beckon, when you care for your personal brand, you’re making a long-term investment in yourself. A personal brand is the sum total of the energy and time you put into your career. It’s what you stand for. It’s how others see you. Serial entrepreneur Chris Ducker once said, “Your personal brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

While many busy business owners and executives don’t think branding is important to them or worth the time it takes to invest in a successful personal brand, they couldn’t be more wrong. A strong and positive personal brand can unite your team, increasing engagement among employees, fostering cohesiveness and reducing uncertainty. Your team will have a better idea of who you are and who you strive to be. It can help your company be more successful by communicating to your customers and clients what you and your company is all about.

It’s important as a leader to regularly pause to reflect on your personal brand. Is it what you’d like it be? Personal branding is not just about a job you had 10 years ago, or even a business you launched that later carried you through many an adventure. A personal brand is your reputation, your personality, and your track record all rolled into one package. It’s absolutely your most valuable asset.

When it comes to reinforcing or even reinventing a personal brand, consistency is critical. That’s why it’s crucial you give your personal branding strategy some serious thought. Do you want to be known as the technology expert? Are you venturing into a whole new arena and wonder how that will mesh with your past experience? Are you a collaborative leader, a kind leader, or one that is focused on giving back? What do you think is your most important quality in business? How do you want others to perceive you? These are the kinds of questions that can have a major impact on your personal brand.

Don’t just drift along, hoping your life’s master plan will unfold the way you envision. Take an active role in building your own personal brand. Branding isn’t optional in today’s business world. It’s a necessity. Once you determine what you’d like your brand to be, act in ways that support it. Share content online that reinforces your brand. Be a part of organizations and initiatives that align with that brand. You don’t want to try and be someone you aren’t. But you do want to tap what’s best in you and make sure your actions and words reflect what makes you unique.

Tom Peters, who coined the term ‘personal branding’ back in 1997, gave advice that year that is still true today. “You’re every bit as much a brand as Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop. To start thinking like your own favorite brand manager, ask yourself the same question the brand managers at Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop ask themselves: What is it that my product or service does that makes it different? We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. Create a message and a strategy to promote the brand called You.”

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