I had the privilege of speaking to a group of hyper teenagers who constantly use their time during school to spread around the latest gossip. Of course, that gossip mostly comes from social media. Though I was there to speak about what I do to the budding creatives, I was asked by the school staff to share my thoughts on social media.
Because I was on a panel of about 7 people, I sat through 6 ranting adults’ take on how what you do on social media sticks and will cause you trouble down the line. I don’t have anything against their approaches, but I was absolutely sure that the teens had heard that all before. Even more than that, I knew they weren’t listening.
I watched as they traded glances and laughed as each adult mentioned half-naked pictures and fighting videos. When it was my turn, I had a plan. I thought about what teenagers are interested in…money and status. They love to feel like they outrank each other. Seriously, when I worked in education, you wouldn’t believe how many times a student told me that he wanted to “Get Money” as a career.
I stood and said to everyone sitting in the room “You are a brand”. I let them know that everything that they did online would either help or hurt their brand. I quickly showed them ways that they could be making money using their social media sites, even at their age. Gone are the days when you have to be a certain age to earn a college degree or start a business.
You should have seen the looks in those kids’ eyes. I could really see those wheels spinning. Something in their minds changed that day, because they were introduced to a new way of thinking about their social media profiles.
I am here saying the same thing to you; YOU ARE A BRAND, even if you don’t have a business. How is this possible? Keep reading.
You Are A Brand! How?
1 You are always selling!
Whether or not you own a business, you are always selling something. You may be selling an employer on your value as a skilled worker. You may be selling someone on your point of view. You may be selling people on yourself as a likable person. Get the picture?
2 You Stand for/Represent Something!
The things that you say, do, share, etc. are all things that make up who you are in other people’s minds. As an individual, you have a unique set of likes, dislikes, and beliefs. What you represent is shown in the things that you share on social media and in your conversation with others. It is also shown in what you do for work and in your spare time. Because people define you by what you do and say, you are representing your brand by staying true to the things that you put out.
3 You Have a Certain Style!
All brands are distinctive, because of their styles. It is literally the way that people identify something or someone. The colors that you wear often represent your brand. Your hairstyle, trademark glasses, style of dress, and anything else that you say, do, or look like that distinguishes you from everyone else around you is what creates your brand’s style. You are the only you out there, and every day you are presenting that to the rest of the world.
4 One Day It Will Matter!
Who knows. If you aren’t a business owner today, you could be someday. Regardless, everything that makes you unique matters. It is what makes you stand out. Your brand is your reputation, and you never want to taint that with anything that isn’t in line with who you are and what you believe.
Do you see yourself in a different light now? You are very much important, and because you are a brand, you are representing something significant every day. What will you do differently, now that you understand that your brand identity is directly related to your reputation?