Many people think that personal branding is just for celebrities such as Kim Kardashian or Britney Spears, yet each and every one of us is a brand. Personal branding, by definition, is the process by which we market ourselves to others. As a brand, we can leverage the same strategies that make these celebrities or corporate brands appeal to others. We can build brand equity just like them.
We can also have just as much presence as most startups and mid-size companies and products. Social media tools have leveled the playing field and have enabled us to reach incredible heights, at the cost of our time. Today, I want to share the personal branding process, so you can start to think about what face you want to show to the world and how you want to position yourself for success!
What are the Challenges to Establishing YOUR Brand?
The challenges for working on your own brand is more difficult than working on someone else’s brand promise because you are so close to the brand and do not have Baby Eyes – a look from someone else that does not know much about what you do or how you do it.
When developing a brand, put together a focus group or bounce ideas off others. This can be time consuming, however the time and effort you put into your research will pay off in the end.
When developing a brand, you can have information overload with all the competitive research. Take your time, and follow a plan.
Start by developing an overall company story or personal story and if you have employees, be sure that you have organizational storytelling and Make it Personal. Remember, stories sell!
The 12 Ways to Create YOUR Brand are listed below:
- Update your Basic Components.
- Curriculum Vitae (CV) Information
*A comprehensive document used in academic circles and medical careers that elaborates on education, publications, and other achievements. It is often expected that professionals use a short CV that highlights the current focus of their academic lives and not necessarily their full history.
- Research Interests
- Resume Information
*A brief written account of personal, educational, and professional qualifications and experience prepare for an applicant seeking a job.
- Technical Skills
- Business Skills
- Volunteer Work
- Design & Usability are still critical in establishing your credibility and trustworthiness.
Whatever you put your name on, remember it should always be designed to build trust.
- Become a Blogger!
Add to your blog or contribute to other blogs at least weekly and preferably daily. Stay focused on your topic areas. Never confuse the consumer by mixing personal and professional comments. I started blogging in 2007 and still continue to blog to educate. Find your passion and write about it!
- 6° of Separation – Get to Know People and NETWORK!
In Albuquerque, New Mexico (my home town) this is more like 1° of separation. I realized the importance of networking locally when I first opened my business in February 2000 and have developed a strong company brand and a strong personal brand by networking and really taking the time to build relationships!
- Make Connections Online!
If you are not part of the social media revolution, then you may find it even more difficult to establish a personal brand. People want to get to know the authentic you. The use of social media platforms in today’s market place are no longer an option when it comes to branding yourself. People will use social media to look up a business or individual to gain more information about them. If this information isn’t readily available you are missing a great opportunity to really display your true brand.
- Become a Professional Speaker
Look for types of organizations, places or industries that you can practice and perfect your speaking skills such as:
- Local Civil Groups
- Professional Conferences
- Academic Conferences
- Communities of Interest
- Religious Groups
- Chapter meetings
- Web 2.0.
Get involved in communities online, including social networking sites to gain credibility for your expertise such as:
- Social networking
- Industry Forums
- Book Making
- Professional Networks
- Photo Sharing (Instagram)
- Slide Sharing (Slideshare.net)
- Trademark Yourself.
What are you known for and contribute that makes your brand stand out? Use the following list as potential vehicles to really showcase yourself.
- Volunteer Efforts
- Degrees an Education Classes
- Roles and Responsibilities
- Press Releases
- Patents and Trademarks
- Past Positions
- Professional Affiliates
- Programs and Projects
- Industry Awards and Designated Honors
- Get Involved and be a Contributor and an Avid Learner.
We are never done learning! Always look for ways to improve and expand your knowledge. This will help you to become more of an “expert” who can then be trusted and recognized. Get involved in in the conversation and listen to what people say and use that feedback.
- Corporate Profiles
- Enterprise Wiki
- Corporate Blogs
- Collaborative Technologies
- Social tagging
- Corporate Forums
- Book marking
- RSS Feeds
- What Should You Measure?
- Postings, Trackbacks and Comments
- Information Content
- Page Views
- Repeat and Unique Visitors
- Top Pages
- External Links
- Search Analytics
- Google Page Ranking
- Technorati Ranking
- Portfolio Inventory of Trademarks
- Publication Referencing
Most importantly, how do you measure success?
- How many fans do you have in Facebook? Likes? Shares?
- Do you have a Google grade? If not, take your web site and plug it into http://www.websitegrader.com to see how you rank and show on the web.
- Do you have a following in Twitter or have any clout for what you say? Do people follow.
- What are your internal metrics from all of your outreaches?
- Do you have an email newsletter and email distribution list for communicating your brand?
- What about LinkedIn profile views? How many people are linked up to you?
- Do you have Facebook “Likes” or Connections and are growing?
- Have you ever had a re-tweet from what you say or do?
- What about RSS feeds to your existing blogs or articles?
- Develop & Deliver Podcasts, Seminars & Webinars.
Do you have educational podcasts, seminars or webinars you can share online and be a contributor to others that would like to know more? Digital media that includes podcasts, seminars and webinars are becoming a stronger way to connect with others and can really develop your brand.
- Realize that you ARE the Labor!
A great brand is nothing if it is merely a thought. You must put in the work to create yourself. While talent is definitely important to your brand, the labor you put into making your brand visible on a global scale is the payoff. You need to do the labor first to build your brand but the long term pay off can be beneficial to you and your business.
What a Personal Brand is NOT!
- What you say about yourself.
- An extension of your employer’s brand.
- Your presence in social media.
- Anything you can ask for.
- A perk.
- Something you’re entitled to.
- A gift someone can give you.
- About power.
- Permanent or Guaranteed!
Remember, You ARE being “Googled” so why not manage Brand “You?” The benefits to Personal Branding far outweigh not having a brand at all. It creates differentiation, improves confidence, increases your visibility, helps you achieve your goals and allows you to pick and choose jobs and assignments
Download our FREE Brand Assessment Tool and apply it to your personal or corporate brand.