There’s a lot of talk these days about personal branding. So what exactly does that mean? If a product’s brand is a unique identity that prevents it from becoming a commodity, then a personal brand is what differentiates you and your service or company from the other thousands of Joe and Janes competing in your niche. I buy Heinz over the no-name brand and I pick up Martha Stewart magazine over Crafts Galore.
Why Have We Gone Personal?
As our economy has shifted from products to services, this personal brand has become a key to success. When you provide a service, you are your own product. Even employees need to be concerned with personal brand. It used to be known as reputation. Another reason for the attention to personal brand is because the Internet allows for wide dissemination of that brand. You are no longer known only by a select group of clients or colleagues. Your brand is broadcast every time you go online.
What’s In a Brand?
Your brand should answers the question: Why are you special? What makes you different from everybody else? Is there anything memorable about you? Having a strong personal brand will help you attract the people, organizations, and opportunities that you want. To be the most effective, your brand needs to be you. Otherwise you’re going to be on stage in a way all the time. That may work well for Hollywood personalities, but you’ve got a business to run – better to find out what’s special and build your brand around it.
It’s important to realize that this is a process. If you’ve been in the same business for a while, you can take an inventory of your core strengths, paying particular attention to the areas in which you’ve received praise from clients or superiors. There are a lot of personal coaches who can help you define your personal brand. Beyond that, you’ll have to experiment to find out what fits exactly. Once you find it, you’ll know it’s right because your business will explode.
What steps have you taken to identify your own personal brand?