Although the intent of personal branding and professional branding on the Internet is usually career-oriented, another positive though secondary outcome of your branding efforts is that striving to embody and uphold the image you put forth online can bring out the best in you as a person, too.
When you engage in personal branding on the Internet, your intended goal is to forge a controlled online presence that allow you to personally manage, shape and maximize how you come across to the likes of future employers or anyone who searches for your name through an Internet search engine.
You can create that controlled presence with relative ease by doing things like reserving a .com in your name, creating a personal website, and creating profiles in your name across various social networking websites. Branding is becoming all the more important in a world where your online reputation can be a significant determining factor in whether you’re hired or unemployed, as now a majority of employers Google their job applicants during the hiring process (for more info, see my post “Forging a Brand for Yourself Online”).
If branding can help forge a positive online reputation online, how can personal branding bring out the best in you as a person?
Branding to Bring Out the Best in You
Think about it: In order to live up to the reputable brand you have displayed across the Internet, you’re going to have to raise the bar for yourself as a person to live up to it. This includes raising the standards of your appearance and behavior in public; the images and videos you take and post of yourself online (and those that friends take of you) on the weekends, and what you say on Facebook, Twitter or your blog on a regular basis.
An important part of creating a strong reputation through branding is a high level of exposure across various social networking websites. The higher your exposure online, the more transparent you ultimately become: everything from yours passing thoughts to your photos, videos, ideas and more are exposed and become accessible widely across the Internet. They become you. You become them.
If a expose random thought, photo, video, or idea to the world that doesn’t live up to the ideal image that you portray of yourself and your professional brand, you threaten to destroy it completely (just ask Tiger). As such, you’re more obligated to live up to the reputation of the brand you put forth. And whether that means turning up the cuss filter, being less confrontational or more understanding, or taking greater responsibility for your actions and words, living up to the reputation you wish you portray often means that you have to strive that much harder to be a better person, across the board.
Raising Your Personal Level of Expectation
In life, making every effort to become a better person is a deliberate and introspective process of constant learning. When you strive to forge a strong, reputable personal or professional brand online, you are just as much striving to become a generally better person.
Working to become a better person by setting the bar of your personal brand at a high level, the upward process that you emulate is similar to that of a career professional who is raising the bar of his or her professional image with the goal of rising through the ranks to attain a higher job status. As a career professional, you work to create and maintain an image that is worthy of promotion, pay raises, and upward career mobility. The difference with personal branding is to set a high bar for yourself and work your hardest to uphold that ideal image for yourself.
While personal and professional branding is becoming increasingly important to college grads and unemployed Americans who need to stand out to get ahead, just one more positive benefit of branding is that it can ultimately help you become a better person. Will you rise to the occasion?