You too are a Brand

 

April 15, 2014


Many people think that personal branding is just for celebrities such as Beyonce or LeBron James, yet each and every on of us is a brand. Personal branding is the process by which we market ourselves to others. As A brand, we can use the same strategies that make these celebrities or athlete brands appeal to others. We can build brand equity just like them.

 

Benefits

  1. Just like corporate brands, people demand a premium price (a higher salary) based off brand value. (Kellogg's cereal is more expensive than supermarket brand, yet it tastes similar)

  2. You will become more visible and be recognized by your peers, other successful business people, and entrepreneurs. With visibility, comes speaking       engagements, jobs, clients, celebrity and the opportunity to make a difference.

  3. People will want to work with you, work for you, and support your career and projects.

  4. The network you develop because of your brand can protect you from today’s uncertain work environment and allow you to grow your business.

  5. Branding also gives you a sense of being, confidence and purpose.

 

How to Discover and Create your Personal Brand?

Discover your Brand

  1. Start by asking yourself “what do I want to be known for?"

  2. You’re every bit as much a brand as McDonalds, Nike or Coke. You need to start thinking like a brand manager, ask yourself what brand managers at       McDonalds, Nike or Coke ask themselves: what is it that my products or services do that makes them different? Take time to write down your answer,  take time to read it several times.  If your answer wouldn’t excite a prospective client or get "two thumbs up" from a satisfied past client, or worst of all – if it doesn’t do anything for you then you’ve got a big problem. Start by identifying the qualities or characteristics that make you distinctive from your competition or your co-workers. What have you done recently to make yourself stand out? Read a book, wrote a news article, learned new product info? What would your customers or co-workers say is your greatest strength?

  3. To know if you’ve discovered your brand, you need to make this equation equal:  Your self-impression = How people perceive you

 

Create your Brand

Your personal branding toolkit consists of: blog, website, business card, video resume, portfolio, social network profile or a combination. Your brand must be consistent and reinforce each part of you toolkit.

 

  • Business Card: It doesn’t matter if you’re a CEO, consultant or college student, everyone should have their own business card.

  • Blog/website: You need to own yourname.com or a website that with your name in some fashion. Depending on who you are, how much time you have on your hands and if you can accept criticism, you should either start a blog or stick with a static homepage. Those who blog will have a stronger asset than those who don’t because blogs rank higher in search engines and lend more to your expertise and interest areas over time.

  • LinkedIn Profile: A LinkenIn profile is a combination of a resume, cover letter, references document and a moving and living database of your network. Use it to create your own personal advertising, to search for jobs or to meet new people.

  • Facebook Profile: Over 160 million people have profiles, but almost none of them have branded themselves properly using this medium. Be sure to include a picture of just you, without any obscene gestures or unnecessary vodka bottles. Also input your work experience and fill out your profile, while turning on the privacy options that disable the ability for people to tag you in pictures and videos.

  • Twitter Profile: Your Twitter profile should have an avatar that is carved out of your Facebook picture and used in your LinkedIn profile. You need a distinct background.Twitterbacks.com has templates you can use to make your very own Twitter background.

  • Wardrobe: Your personal style is extremely important for standing out from the crowd. Select clothing that best represents you because it will be viewable through your pictures/avatars online, as well as when you meet people in reality.

  • E-mail Address: Don’t overlook your e-mail address as not being a significant part of your toolkit. Your email address poses a great opportunity for your brand. I recommend using for your address “firstname.lastname@yourmail.com”

 

Communicate

Now it’s time to use everything you’ve created to let people know you exist. You can communicate your brand by attending professional networking events, writing articles for local newspapers or newsletters, commenting on blogs, connecting with people on social networks, and reaching out to the press.

 

  1. Teach a class: You get credit for being an expert, you increase your standing as a professional, and you increase the likelihood that people will come back to you with more requests.

  2. Write a Column: If you’re a better writer than a teacher try contributing to a column or an opinion piece to your local newspaper. This gives you a track record.

  3. Give a Presentation: If you’re a better talker than you are a teacher or writer, try to get yourself on a panel discussion at a conference or sign up to make a presentation at a workshop. A couple of good panel discussions could earn you a chance at doing a solo speech, from there it just goes on and on.

 

Maintain

As you grow, mature and accelerate in your career or business, everything you’ve created has to be updated and accurately represent the current “brand you.” Also you need to monitor your brand online to ensure all conversations about you are positive and factual. You can do this by using a Google Alert for your name.

 

Why should entrepreneurs care about personal branding?

  1. If you don’t brand yourself, someone else will brand you.

  2. People want to work with a strong personal brand that have a successful track record.

  3. Your personal brand is transferable, so if your business fails, you don’t have to start from scratch again.

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