Companies and organizations strive daily to create strong branding that will distinguish them among their competitors in the minds of consumers ultimately leading to brand loyalty and advocacy. Entrepreneur.com defines branding as “the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol, or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products. Your brand is your promise to your customer.”
But what about the brand of the individual person? We live in a society that is competitive by nature and this is especially true when it comes to the business world. When planning out a career an individual’s personal brand is of critical importance. Due in large part to technology a personal brand can be just as vital to an organization as the corporate brand because modern consumers are influenced as much by individuals as they are by large corporations, and the two are often connected at the hip. You don’t have to look far to see that this is true. Think about the private corporate emails that were release following the Sony data breach last year or BP CEO Tony Hayward’s regrettable comment about wanting his life back following the massive oil spill in 2010 just to name a couple. The words or actions of only a handful of key people within these organizations had a huge impact on revenue and corporate reputation.
Therefore, just as a corporate brand has to stand for something, so does a personal brand. What is a person known for? What are an individual’s personal characteristics and attributes that represent who they are? These questions should be answered by a personal brand.
There are many facets to creating a reputable personal brand and in most cases it can take years to successfully build one. Just claiming you’re the most informed on something doesn’t mean you are. Just claiming you’re honest doesn’t mean you are. You have to prove it, and that takes time. There are numerous resources available, both on and offline, which lay out strategic approaches to the development of a personal brand. Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, and countless other publications have delved into the subject of developing a personal brand. While some articles are more in depth than others and touch on different aspects, here are some steps that are generally consistent across the board:
- Determine what you are good at and what you will be known for.
What is your area of expertise? Is it public relations? Graphic design? Financial analysis? Knowledge about the 1996 Super Bowl Champion Green Bay
Packers? Whatever it is, it has to be something about which you have extensive knowledge that others trust.
- Start spreading the word that you are well versed in that particular subject.
The only way that others will start coming to you is if you communicate to them that you are now the “go to” person for the particular subject. Just a few ways to accomplish this would be to publish materials on the subject, develop websites and social media outlets, and network.
- Always keep learning.
There are few aspects that are more consistent in business than evolution. There is no doubt that the knowledge that you possess on your subject of choice will become outdated, and in many cases quicker than anticipated. If you expect to stay on top of the game and remain the “go to expert” be sure to commit to consistent learning.
This information barely scratches the surface of personal branding. A simple Google search of “Building a personal brand” can bring up countless articles and information on the subject. Organizations like us understand the importance of personal branding. While Goodwill offers free job training programs to assist people in finding full time employment it is ultimately up to those individuals to show potential employers that they have what it takes to meet the employer’s needs. A major part of that is how that person may represent the corporate brand, and just as importantly, how they will represent themselves.
What would you like to be known for?