A Very Personal View on Personal Branding

Fine, fine. It’s another article for the contest. Not to worry, it’s over tomorrow, and I hope and pray to be the winner, but it’s up to chance and randompicker.com. Hopefully, I’ve managed to incorporate my POW and link whatever I wrote about to the essence of this blog, which is marketing and management.

And indeed, I’ve written about professional image before, here. Personal branding is, in my book, an offshoot of that, and I simply regard it as the deliberate process of packaging your qualities and image in a way that is appealing to potential customers (readers, recruiters, business contacts).

Note that I believe personal branding to be deliberate, something that requires planned and informed action, as opposed to image, which occurs naturally (but can of course be managed).

The inspiration article on Portal HR is proposing a few steps for your branding.

– First, they say, is to assess your existing brand. Google is their suggestion, but tools such as MyWebCareer, Social Mention can also come in handy.

– Second, ensure you are present on social networks, and manage your appearance in terms of language and facts.

– Communicate your experience through participation in events, blogging and so on.

I happen to think that a personal brand is just that, a brand, and therefore, it has 5 key elements:

1. Brand Position

– What you do and for whom

– What value do you offer, and what benefits can be reaped from knowing / working with / reading you

– What differentiates you from all the rest

2. Brand promise

– What is the one thing people can consistently expect from you, and how can they expect to feel every time they interact with you?

3. Brand personality

– What do you want to be known for? What qualities and traits should spring to people’s minds every time they think of you? What is your public presence like?

4. Brand story

What is your personal history, and how does it tie into the 3 elements above?

5. Brand associations

Your name, nickname, image/photo, tagline, wardrobe which support and enhance your personal brand.

The steps in building the personal brand are few and simple:

DEFINE – taking your personal brand through the 5 elements above

COMMUNICATE – meaning you articulate that brand through written and oral communication, event participation, etc. making it clear who you are, and what you are about. This is about purposefully presenting the brand and shaping what others see, not simply presenting yourself and letting others form their own opinion.

PROMOTE – meaning that you continue to communicate and push your brand, especially in the online environment, that you seek endorsements and widen the circle of those exposed to your brand.

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