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Personal Branding

February 24, 2011

 

   

 

From Sandie Tate

How to Discover Your Personal Brand – And Why it Matters!

“Many of us are taught to do our best and then let the world decide how to judge us. I think it’s better to do your best and decide how you want to be judged. And act that way.” -Seth Godin

Starbucks promises great coffee and a wonderful, warm experience. Apple promises simplicity and imagination. What are you promising your clients? You may not realize it, but YOU are a brand, too.

Your personal brand goes beyond you and sets expectations with coworkers, bosses, and clients. Taking control of your brand can help grow your business and increase your satisfaction in your work, but it requires some work.

What exactly is a personal brand?

It is not some hypothetical marketing-speak. It’s a tool that helps define you to those you interact with. It’s a statement of who you are, what you believe, and what you deliver.

How do you determine your personal brand?

The first step is to ask yourself some honest questions: 1) What am I passionate about? In what do I find fulfillment and satisfaction? 2) How does that differentiate me from others who do the same thing? What value do I bring to others, whether friends, coworkers, or clients? 3) How do I describe myself, personally and in business?

Once you have a picture of who you are and what you deliver, check it against what others think. Find an honest family member or colleague and encourage them to tell you the truth. Does your perception match theirs? If not, what are you doing that contradicts it? What more can you do to enhance it? Or, the hard question: do you need to embrace a different brand that reflects who you truly are? These can be difficult questions, but taking control of your personal brand requires some introspection!

You’ve discovered your brand. Now what?

There are articles and blogs that give you specific tactics to maximize your personal brand, but they all fall into three logical rules.

1) Clarity – Be clear about who you are and just as clear about who you are not. It can be tempting to be a jack-of-all-trades… you do “everything” well. Find those things that you do “particularly” well and focus on that.

2) Consistency – Proclaim your brand across all communications vehicles all the time. Do your business cards, literature, open houses, and networking interactions reinforce your brand? Review your past efforts and your ongoing efforts and weigh them against your brand. Do they build your brand or confuse it?

3) Constancy – Keep your brand in front of people frequently. Building a brand is not a quick exercise. It requires time.

Source: Harvard Business Review, Mashable.com

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