Personal branding is the process of creating a brand identity for a person or a company. Personal branding is how you present your brand and its values to the world and ensure that your target audience knows who you are, what you stand for and why you are worth choosing over your competitors.
So in business, it’s not enough to have good professional skills, you also need to make sure people remember you as a character. Personal branding is a great tool to achieve this, but what does it mean in the business world of women? For women in particular, a strong personal brand can open doors to new business and career opportunities.
The issue of personal branding remains more relevant for women entrepreneurs, as they still have to define themselves as women in a world of gender stereotypes and leadership gaps.
Traditional gender expectations and other challenges facing women today affect two elements of their branding:
Exterior: dress code, manner of speech, self-presentation.
Internal: self-awareness, vision of the future, self-identification
A woman can influence and correct both elements if she understands why her brand is valuable and how to communicate that message to the world.
You probably know that there are far fewer women in leadership positions and that far less funding goes to start-ups and women-led businesses. These are the two main reasons why, as a woman in a leadership position, you need to create an amazing personal brand. But this is much more difficult for women, by its very nature. There is no doubt that these problems are largely attributable to social stereotypes and unequal treatment of women in the workplace.These things are slowly changing, but there is still a long way to go. As I said, women can and do help to accelerate these changes by going against the norm and showing their incredible skills, talents and achievements. That’s why you need to start realising that a personal brand is not an accessory that is nice to have, but your clothes that you need to have in your wardrobe.
The 4 main reasons why men thrive and women struggle when it comes to personal branding are:
- Attention (visibility) vs. unpleasant shame
When we ask a man to name three moments in his career that he is proud of, he will not hesitate to mention them, and men are more inclined to talk about their achievements in public. Asking a woman exactly the same question will result in a different answer. Women tend to have higher standards for the levels of achievement they feel warrant public exposure or speaking about.
- Us vs. me
Women like to use the word ‘we’: “As a team, we have achieved…”Being in the right place at the right time…”.In a group effort”.etc. Whereas men seem to prefer the word ‘I’, which emphasises one’s own efforts.
- Liking vs. success
As research shows, women perceive likability and success as opposites that simply don’t go hand in hand. While for men, research shows the opposite. They see likability as part of success, not the opposite.
- In the centre vs. behind the scenes
Women are generally better at networking, making new acquaintances and making friends. Networking is part of their nature, which is why they are often labelled as those who only succeed because of their connections and “good” relationships.
The 4 points above are examples of how personal branding varies by gender. Let them support you as you embark on your personal branding journey. The best way to do this is to harness the strengths of both opposites and combine them into a successful whole.
Dear entrepreneurs and businesswomen: you can do much more than you think. And personal branding is one of the things that will help you on the road to even greater success.