What is Your Personal Brand?

What is Your Personal Brand

Recently I’ve become hooked on a great podcast from Tim and Luke at Small Business Big Marketing. In episode #82 (How to Become a Person of Influence) Tim was beating the drum about having a brand for your business. He covered the points that a brand makes you:

  • More Marketable
  • More Identifiable
  • More Relatable
  • Gives you More Value

And it got me to thinking, what about our personal brands. How often do we stop to consider, unless you’re one of the raft of modern celebrities, a la Paris Hilton, Jennifer Lopez, P Diddy, Katie Price or Pink, amongst so many others, what is my personal brand?

How often do we stop to consider questions like:

  • How do people perceive us?
  • What is different about us than everyone else?
  • What makes us stick out in the minds of friends, family, businesses, potential employers, employees and clients?
  • What gives us value over our competition that goes beyond our CV, smile, handshake and past work

So it got me to thinking and I really want to start a conversation with you about this and hopefully together we can build a great set of source of knowledge about what makes an exceptional personal brand.

What is Your Personal Brand

That’s a great question. Dan Schawbel, author of Personal Branding Blog says there are four key things you have to do:

Discover

Without being too long-winded, you have to discover who you are, what you stand for and what you do. i.e., What is Your Personal Niche. When you carry out this process of introspection, you’re then clearer on what your focus is, what your key strengths are and what you bring to the professional table.

Create

After you’ve discovered who you are and given yourself a clear direction, you then get to have fun with a whole range of tools and create your brand. Now, it should be pointless to say, but this isn’t a one time event, it’s not even a two-time event. This is something that you’re going to have to incorporate as part of your personal brand management process.

So how do you create a personal brand? There are two key ways to do this:

Offline

Offline, or in-person, covers how you present and convey yourself. Do you present well, i.e., a suit or stylish attire; do you communicate clearly, professionally and with passion; do you have a great elevator pitch that tells people who you are and sets you apart.

Online

When people Google for you and don’t be a mushroom and think that people aren’t – not in this day and age – what do they find? Do they find anything at all about you? Do they find a mishmash of tidbits that are more a litany of your escapades and  nights out with the boys or the girls? Or do they see an exceptional list of links (or references) to you, who you are, what you know, who you know, what you’ve done and what you’re doing?

The former is likely to sink you, whilst, when done well, the latter is going to build your personal brand and make you unique. What are the best ways to build an online personal brand. Well Tim mentioned a great example: Bernard Salt. So I did a Google on him and have annotated the search results below. Have a look and let’s see why he’s such a great example.

An excellent personal brand

When you Google him, you see his personal website and profile right at the top, you see his Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles and then you also see an series of references to articles that he’s published. You quickly get the idea that this person is serious about his personal brand and has taken the time to create it through the best tools available; tools that you can go to to find out more about him.

Communicate

But it’s not just enough to create the brand, you need to communicate it. Basically, this is you getting out there and doing marketing and promotion of You Inc. Grab a pen and paper, a suitable app for your smartphone, an app on your desktop or whatever suits you best and start looking at all the things that you can do to get out there, out where people are and sell yourself to them?

To save you a bit of time, here’s some quick tips:

  • Do you have a blog?
  • Do you contribute to blogs
  • Do you contribute to forums? I found both a health insurance and tax adviser through one – they work
  • Are you a Wizpert?
  • Do you have your work online? If you’re an artist, are you on flickr, deviant art or more. If you’re a software developer, are you on Github or Mercurial?
  • Do you read about interesting things? Then tweet about them, put them on a Tumblr account, Pin it on Pinterous or add it on Reddit
  • Do you love to talk? Start a podcast series. it’s free on iTunes.
  • Are you involved in your local community? Are you in a local Lions or Rotary group?
  • Do you like networking? Join Toastmasters International. They’re a great way to meet people and let people know about you.

Maintain

Here’s the final key. Like anything, it’s not just a case of putting out your banner and people will come. You have to work at it. You have to keep it clean and tidy, you have to keep up with changes and trends, you have to stay relevant. So, set yourself time every month to review it and remove things that aren’t working, improve things that are. Keep reading blogs and sites that help you do this, such as Small Business Big Marketing and the Personal Branding Blog.

I hope that this encourages you to deeply consider your personal brand and the impact that it can and will have on your career, whether you have one or not. Do you already have one? How can you make it better?

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