And you just can’t hide it.
I think it’s important to remember that every single action you take and every single word you say, online and offline, is a part of your brand.
Whether you like it or not. It’s a part of the work that you do, and it’s a part of the way people will perceive that work. You can’t opt out of having a brand. It’s not possible. You can’t opt out of your brand playing a part in your life.
You can’t opt out of the associations that people are going to make.
You actually don’t have the choice whether or not you engage in personal branding. Personal branding is going to happen to you and around you, no matter what you do.
The important part is to take ownership of it. Take control, take command, and make your brand a conscious move on your part, that you can commit to long term and remain involved with.
Define who you want to be, and how you want to be recognised, and define those associations.
If you’re starting from day one, if you’re starting from zero, you’re still not starting from a blank canvas.
You need to examine the content and the public persona you’ve already generated, whether it’s from tweeting and snapchatting or just being associated with your past professional positions, there is context already out there that’s a part of your existing brand.
Analyse it, question it, and try to understand it. Speak to people who know you, and get their take on what your brand is. You don’t have to adopt that, you can choose to grow beyond it or shift it completely, but you do have to be able to see the baseline.
You are your brand. You have to take control of it. There’s no way around that, and there’s no way to avoid it.