Re-branding Yourself (Part 2): More On Personal Branding and Some Great Resources
At the request of many who wrote to me about my “Re-Branding Yourself” post I’ve written a continuation on the subject of “Branding/Re-Branding”. Thanks for all the emails and comments received!
Radio City Music Hall was packed to capacity with many of the entertainment industry’s elite and television crews were ensuring that 27 million people were able to watch live. The show was not even an hour old when WOW, what a shock! The people in attendance and watching on TV the 2009 Video Music Awards (VMAs) witnessed Kanye West interrupt Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video to basically say that another artist nominated for the same award should have won. Do you think Kanye West’s brand was affected by what he did? You better believe that it was.
The branding process for a person, including myself, is a never ending, ongoing process that a person needs to be aware of. Why? Because everything we do and say, and everything we don’t do and say, affects our personal brand. (Author’s Note: There’s no need to be paranoid, just be aware of it. )
Taking a look at what a brand is, here are some definitions for “brand” that I found online:
According to Bizzia.com:
- Intangible asset similar to your reputation:
- Generated through a consistent message of that reputation communicated through advertising, customer service , community relations, consumer experience/word-of-mouth, etc.,
- And thereby creating awareness of that reputation among consumers
According to BusinessDictionary.com:
- Entire process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product (good or service) in the consumers’ mind, through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.
What is Your Brand?
Brands enable companies to differentiate themselves: How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors?
A personal brand needs an outlet in order to showcase a product or service: What are you doing to showcase who you are and why someone should work with or be associated with you?
A brand shows the vision of the enterprise: What is your vision and your long term plan to achieve it?
“Every human being is a brand, the way you socialize, who you know, what you say.”
I recently wrote a brief article called “Re-Branding Yourself”. I’ve received many great comments on the article, both from people visiting my blog as well as from friends and colleagues on social networking and professional association sites and I am truly grateful. One group of comments that had valuable insights to the topics of Branding and Re-Branding came from the LinkedIn group “Harvard Business Review”. With permission, I’m sharing some of these comments below.
“We are all part of a business community of some sort, just as products are part of an industry. One must renew and update their brand or lose market share (branding). When I was a child — now I am really dating myself — we referred to athletic shoes as KEDs, copiers as Xerox machines and hot tubs as Jacuzzis. These products were branded. They lost market share. Why? Did they think that once they reached the top, they would stay there?
LOL One needs to stay current, educated in their field and become an adventurous and innovative leader. I had a company motto that assisted in my branding, “Do it first. Do it right. Do it now.” The phrase that followed me in my community was, “She gets things done.”
Is there a phrase that is used in describing you in your workplace? Is it the same as the vision that you have for yourself?”
“Branding is a perception. For brand to last long, it must have something inside that lifts it up just like air inside the balloon and something that draws your attention just like the colour on the outside of the balloon. You must maintain the air level (generic value) within and adjust your colors outside as viewers like (brand renovation).”
-Prakash Dudhat, Experienced Administrator in Education Consultancy.
“There are many reasons executives take a hard look at their personal brands. I am working with an exec out of California who is (truly) a leader in his field. His name and picture have been plastered across notable business publications. Now he wants to shift his focus.
How can he do this so that it is credible and genuine, without seeming fleeting? This is personal branding, too. As long as the motivation and marketing is based in authenticity, it can be done effectively. Another example: One of my clients on the East Coast has built a very visible reputation as the CEO of a leader in their sector. However, if you ask people what he stands for, few can articulate his values, his passions, his mission. They all know him as “a great guy” who leads a successful company. This also indicates the need to grow his personal brand.
Personal Branding is the practice of developing and marketing your reputation. Since perception is formed on behavior, we have to start with actions. Then, we look at all the ways your brand comes to life — through your brand character, personality, posturing, relationships, etc.
Feedback is critical as we can often think we’re perceived differently than others see us. This isn’t always bad! Often times, when I work with clients on the feedback portion of our process, we uncover brand gems that reveal opportunity we couldn’t have foreseen. Feedback is always a gift — it reveals opportunity to make progress towards our desired brand.”
How do you test your personal brand if you are a small business owner?
If you ask only people who know you in your network you miss the general impression you give by responding to conversations, by making bogs and websites. There is one tool, www.onlineidcalculator.com that gives an idea of your presence on the web but it is not qualitative.
I would like to emphasis that building your personal brand is not only for small business owners or people who have been laid off and looking for a job. Start building now before you need it.
How do you influence the way people perceive you on the internet?
1 — What you do and say on the web will stay forever, so make professional comments. Be aware of your language, and jokes: ask yourself if it is compatible with the image you want to project?
2 — Start to use tools in LinkedIn: participate in groups, ask and answer questions that position you as an expert. Build your reputation in your field. Use Slideshare, polls and blogs on your home page. Use the social media that reflects your potential client or employer interests.
4 — Volunteer to make events such as presentations and trainings to your local industry chapters or your potential clients association. This will be mentioned by others than you. It is always better to be referred by word of mouth.”
Some Great Articles and Online Resources
“The Return of the Personal Brand” by Gill Corkindale
“11 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand” by Gill Corkinda
“Personal Branding 101: How to Discover and Create Your Brand” by Dan Schawbel
“Personal Branding Becomes a Necessity in Digital Age” by Mark Glaser
“4 Steps to Personal Branding Success” by Dan Schawbel
“The Brand Called You” by Tom Peters
“Building your Personal Brand” by Kevin Liebl
“Me Incorporated, Your Own Magnetic Brand” by Randall Frost
Some Online Tools That Can Be Used for Monitoring a Personal Brand
What are some of your favorite online tools, books and articles on personal branding?
How do you see yourself?
How do you want others to see you?
How do you want others to think of you or the unique services your provide?