Michelle Adams, Staff Writer

Branding is important in any industry. As you develop consistency for your company, it becomes more cohesive and recognizable, and this sets it apart from others. A distinguishable brand and positive reputation can do wonders for a business, but have you ever thought of the possibilities that arise from establishing one for yourself?

A personal brand is very similar to an organization’s brand. The concept arose in the late 1990’s, when Tom Peters discussed personal reputation in business terms in a motivational article about self-improvement.

In a business, branding means mission statement, logos and appearance, and purpose. The same applies to your personal brand, Peters wrote; it is what you stand for and how you present yourself. In essence, a personal brand is your reputation, one that you work at constantly. It is how people perceive you, and how you want to be perceived.

It will help you stay focused as you venture into the working world, and keep you true to your morals and values. To develop your personal brand is to develop yourself into a happier, more productive person, with established goals and a reputation that could open doors.

Peters insisted that “everyone has a chance to learn, improve, and build up their skills. Everyone has a chance to be a brand worthy of remark.” So how can you become the brand that you want to embody?

Define yourself

Just like with a business, your personal brand needs to be distinct. The first step is to discover who you are and who you want to be. What is unique about you? What quirks about your personality do you like best? Ask yourself (and possibly, close friends) these questions. Perhaps you want to embody positivity and optimism, because you’re a naturally bubbly person. Maybe what you need to succeed is the authoritative attitude of a leader.

Ignore the pressures of society and choose a few aspects of your personality that you feel are true to you to focus on, and decide what values and morals go with them. Once you’ve determined who you want to be, then you can focus on how to get there.

Create a plan of action

Now that you know where you want to go, you can map out your route. What do you need to do to get where you want to be? For instance, if you want to be known as a positive figure, who always looks on the bright side, perhaps you’ll need to refocus your thoughts into happier ones. Only you can decide what you need to do to meet your goal, but the sooner you make a game plan, the sooner you can embody the person you’ve always wanted to be. It may be a lengthy process, but it will be worth it in the end.

Follow your plan

Perception is reality, so if you want to be known as an optimist, you need to act like a positive person. Make your decisions with your personal brand in mind. If you are offered a job at a company whose mission statement doesn’t follow your values, maybe you need to turn down the offer to stay true to yourself and your brand. Remember: the concept doesn’t work if you don’t stay consistent.

If you find yourself struggling to follow your plan, perhaps you need to adapt your brand. You will change as you grow, and your brand can grow with you. As long as you stay true to yourself, people will see you as who you really are.

Developing a consistent personal brand will not only help you in the business world, but also in your personal life. Your friends will think of you in a more positive light, as they’ll always know what to expect from you. If you maintain consistency, your reputation will change for the better in any way that you work for it to.

Expand Your Brand

Your personal brand can be applied to your social media as well, as you work to develop a steady following. When people know who you are, and what to expect from you, they subconsciously feel more comfortable around you, and they know they can go to you when they need help with something you’re an expert at.

Creating a solid and consistent personal brand will be a huge asset to your professional and personal life, as you venture through college and beyond. When you have a steady reputation, you’ll earn the trust of your colleagues and friends, and be happier and more productive in your endeavors.

Use these tips for self-improvement as you work to the be the best you that you can be.