There’s a special dichotomy to being a black woman in today’s workforce. We are somehow all at once invisible but scrutinized, unheard and yet expected to serve as an example. It’s a sentiment I’ve heard echoed time and again by friends, colleagues, and clients.
Creating a personal brand is a powerful way to take control of how you’re seen in the professional world. Your brand is an extension of your personality and values, and it’s something you can use to stand out in a sea of sameness. Your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. It’s the way you show up in the world and how you present yourself to others. It’s what makes you unforgettable.
The Importance of Building Your Personal Brand
You may think branding is relegated to companies and entrepreneurs, but each of us has a personal brand and it’s more important than ever for black women to be aware of and leverage that power.
Over the years, companies have tirelessly demonstrated that no matter how many lunches we work through, family obligations we miss, or nights we stay late to finish a “group” project, we are replaceable. Personal branding puts the power back in your hands by allowing you to create a name and reputation for yourself that is not contingent on your current job title or employer.
More than that, a strong personal brand empowers you to be more intentional about your career growth. New opportunities come more easily because you’re top of mind for the right people. You attract clients, mentors, and sponsors who value what you know and who you are and you’re more likely to get paid what you’re worth. When you’re clear about your value, what you bring to the table, and where you want to go, it’s easier to negotiate from a place of strength and make decisions that align with your goals.
Take a look at this study – it was found that black women’s earnings are, on average, 63% of white, non-Hispanic men’s earnings. 63%! This is an unacceptable pay gap, and one of the many reasons why it’s so important for black women to gain control of the narrative.
When you build a powerful brand, you are no longer at the mercy of the systems that seek to keep you in your place. You become the CEO of your own destiny.
Brand Awareness v. Brand Impact
We can’t talk about brand impact without discussing brand awareness, at least to some degree. After all, if people don’t know your brand exists, it’s tough to make an impact, right?
Many people view brand awareness and brand impact as one and the same. And while the two are certainly intertwined, there are some inherent differences.
Brand awareness essentially comes down to ensuring your target audience knows you exist. The goal is to get your personal brand in front of as many people in your target audience as possible and create top-of-mind awareness. That way, when they’re ready to purchase a course, book a speaker, or hire a director, YOU are the first one to come to mind.
Brand impact is a bit more nuanced.
At its core, brand impact is your ability to influence and lead. Looking a little deeper, it’s all about creating a connection with your target audience on an emotional level that drives them to action, establishes you as an indispensable resource, and inspires a deep sense of loyalty.
Both are important elements of a powerful brand strategy. They work in a kind of harmonious cycle, with brand awareness helping to create opportunities for brand impact, and brand impact driving authority and long-term success.
Brand awareness could be an entire article unto itself, so I’m going to focus on brand impact in our next blog post. Stay tuned!