What do major brands have in common with you? A lot. When you think about brands, you automatically rank them in order of preference. Consumer brands have the power of attraction and also the power to send out negative signals that repel you as a buyer. You also have a brand, it is called your personal brand.

Whether you are in sales, marketing or another professional career, your own personal brand has a significant influence on your personal success. Here are specific areas where you can take action to develop a positive personal brand.

Social Engagement

The popularity and ubiquitous aspects of social media channels available to us make it easier than ever to engage socially. Many clues to our own personal brand can be found in what we share on social media and how we engage with others. Similar to the offline world where we are naturally attracted to some personalities and not others, on social media we have the opportunity to network with a collection of individuals who share similar values and lifestyles. What we post and the tone of our discourse can add positively to our personal brand. Our tone can also detract or build a negative image.

“We should never post anything in the heat of the moment,” says digital┬ámarketing expert Mhairi Petrovic, CME, President of Out-Smarts. It can be quite tempting to react immediately during life’s events and many people turn to social media to “rant” or complain. Mhairi’s advice can also be applied to how we respond to the posts and shared content of our social media connections.

Dress for Success

You’ve likely heard the term “Dress for Success”. There are so many ways that you can dress for success. Your personal style may be a reflection of your generation, culture, religion or lifestyle. Regardless of the prominent influence of any of these factors, there can be strong correlation between how others perceive your dress and your personal brand. Sheila Anderson, Corporate Image Consultant with Image Power Play says “People are constantly judging us. We have seven seconds to make our impression.” Dress is just one factor, but an important one. Anderson says “Ninety percent of information transmitted to our brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in our brains than words. Every moment of every day you are influencing others through your image in both your personal and professional life. If you haven’t thought about how you came across in the first seven seconds of meeting someone–don’t worry. They have already done it for you.”

We may be very proud of our style of dress and believe it is an expression of our individuality, however, if our style has dissonance with our profession, we are sending out mixed signals and our personal brand will suffer.

Personal and Corporate Brands

If we work in the corporate world, our personal brand is also advocating for the corporate brand. Many leading brands conduct training to help their employees adhere to corporate branding guidelines while giving flexibility to individual expression.

Everyone markets. Our personal brand is telling a story. What is your story?

Willis Turner, CAE CME CSE, is an association management professional, speaker and author. Willis is the President & CEO of Sales & Marketing Executives International, the worldwide professional association for sales and marketing, established in 1935.