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How to Create Your Personal Brand by alexey ,  Jan 30, 2013
You've probably heard the term "personal branding" quite a lot. But with all the buzz about branding surrounding us, much of it incorrect or, at best merely snippets of the whole concept, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about and why you should care.

Tom Peters, who coined the phrase in 1997 in his Fast Company article “The Brand Called You” (http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/10/brandyou.html), had this to say:

"You're every bit as much a brand as Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop. To start thinking like your own favorite brand manager, ask yourself the same question the brand managers at Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop ask themselves: What is it that my product or service does that makes it different?

We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. Create a message and a strategy to promote the brand called You."

Another personal branding pioneer William Arruda, founder of Reach Personal Branding, says “Your brand resides in the hearts and minds of those around you.”

So, you already have a brand. Your brand is your personal DNA -- the combination of personal attributes, values, strengths, and passions that people know you for and that represent the value you offer.

It’s up to you to identify those qualities and characteristics within you, bring all the pieces together, and communicate a crystal clear, consistent message across multiple channels – online and offline – that differentiates your unique promise of value and resonates with your target audience.

How did Marissa Mayer score the position of CEO at Yahoo? According to Laura Ries, it was because she has what most people don’t – she has a brand. “As Google’s 20th employee and first woman engineer, she is a ‘brand.’ Marissa Mayer is the woman that made Google successful.”
  • Define who you are and your unique abilities: Try to define yourself in a single word or concept. Lisa’s example: I have a friend who defined herself as the “process improvement expert” who “always completed projects on time and under budget.”
  • Understand other people’s perceptions of you: “Think about other people. Think about the impressions you are making on friends, neighbors, business associates. Think about your brand.” Lisa’s comment: Take the time to speak with many different people to understand how they perceive your strengths and then use this information as you create your personal brand.
  • using the following tools “to highlight your brand and allow people to easily view what you’re about”:

    • Business cards
    • Resume/cover letter/reference documents
    • Portfolio showcasing your work
    • Blog or website
    • LinkedIn profile
    • Facebook profile
    • Twitter profile
    • Video résumé (Note from Lisa: I have yet to come across hiring managers who actually view these so I admit I’m still skeptical as to the advantages of video résumés)
    • Wardrobe
    • Email address
    To develop an online self-marketing strategy, you must determine who you are as a professional and build a personal brand around your core strengths, skills and experience. What do you bring to the table that others in your industry do not? Know your strengths and play to them by creating a consistent brand around yourself that's complete with mission, objectives and recognizable visual brand elements. Today's hiring managers are social consumers who are more apt to hire you based on the experience you're selling rather than your ability to carry out a few specific tasks.

    Price: Know Your Value

    The importance of this element in online self-marketing is twofold. In addition to accounting for the value you add to an organization, you must decide what you, the hard-working professional, are worth and what your bottom line is -- particularly if you ever decide to freelance or become an independent contractor.

    Place: Recognize Your Niche
    Spreading yourself too thin across communities and niches where your products and services aren't needed will only make more work for you ... with little reward.
    Promotion: Communicate Your Brand
    New technologies have dramatically shaped our social and professional interactions; however, to adequately market yourself, you must consider the precepts of traditional marketing. Whether you're looking for a job or desire to be considered an expert in your industry, you can meet your objectives by building a brand around yourself -- effectively leaving a memorable first impression and making people want to learn more about you.

    Social Media Job Listings

    Every week we post a list of social media and web job opportunities. While we publish a huge range of job listings, we've selected some of the top social media job opportunities from the past two weeks to get you started. Happy hunting!

    In a sense, you already have a personal brand. As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said: "Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room". Most people, however, have not managed their brands until now.

    To construct your brand, imagine that you are going to construct a building. The first thing you do is dig a big hole. At the bottom of the hole are your talents. You can discover them but you cannot change them. You might have a facility with words or numbers or for connecting people or public speaking. You are likely to have developed one or more of your talents into specific skills. For example, a talent for numbers can be developed into the skills of an accountant, a maths teacher, a code-breaker or an actuary.

    The next stage is to identify your values – what you believe is important. In terms of our building metaphor, these are the foundations. They are below the surface, but they determine the shape of the building. When you understand your values you can identify the right organisations to work for, where people see the world in a similar way to you.

    The next step is to identify your main archetype. This will help people to understand who you are and what you do within seconds of meeting, reading or hearing about you. The twelve archetypes used in personal branding are: the caregiver, the creator, the explorer, the hero, the innocent, the jester, the lover, the magician, the ordinary guy, the outlaw, the ruler and the sage. Once you identify your main archetype, your task is to evoke it through the way you speak, write, dress and behave. If you evoke your main archetype consistently, people will understand immediately how you work.

    Step 1: Choose the pillars for your personal brand

    Every brand is based on a few good qualities.  It makes it easier to connect and remember the product it’s attached to.

    Step 2: Prioritize your brand elements

    It’s easier for people remember one thing than several things.  It’s easier for people to focus on doing one thing than doing a lot of things.

    Step 3: Make your elements into a sort of “elevator statement”

    As a general rule, I think folks talk up the importance of things like personal elevator statements and personal mission statements too much.

    Step 4: Align your online identity with your new elevator statement

    Like it or not, what is online about you influences how others perceive you.  If you want your personal brand to be effective, your online accounts at Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and your other online profiles need to reflect the ideas in your elevator statement from Step 3.

    Step 5: Take more control of your online identity

    You can manage your online profiles, but you have complete control over a website you own.
    You can clean up your Facebook account all you want, but if you really want to solidify your brand online, creating a personal website is the best way to make that happen.

    Step 6: Live your personal brand

    The last and most important step is to live your personal brand.

    Eight Essential Steps

    1. Identify the primary "product" (service, resource, special ability, etc.) you have to offer others.

    2. Identify your core values. What really matters to you?

    3. Identify your passions. What things or ideas do you love?

    4. Identify your talents. What have you always been recognized for (particularly as a kid)? What do you do better than most other people? What skills do people seem to notice in you?

    5. From your hopefully long list of talents and qualities, choose the top five, the ones you do best and enjoy doing the most.

    6. Weave the items on all your lists into a statement of your specialty. What are you particularly gifted at delivering?

    7. Write a paragraph emphasizing your specialty and your five key talents, weaving in your most important values, passions and skills.

    8. Now add a tag line to your brand.

    Get the Word Out

    Once you've worked over your tag line and the other items on the list for a few days or weeks, it's time to take them public with someone you trust. Keeping them secret is a sure way to never act on them.

    The road to career disappointment is littered with lists, dreams and goals never shared with anyone. So get your "brand me" musings out into the light of day to solicit support and constructive criticism from someone else. And you could be a brand adviser for that person in return. And it would be even better is you could get four or five women together regularly to encourage and critique each other's branding strategies and activities.

    Run a blog or website that is all you. It doesn’t matter if it’s not your first priority, or even your second priority, but it gives people a place to develop a stronger connection with you. (You might already be doing this!) Here are some content guidelines:
    • Include a mini-bio at the end of each post, put time and effort into your About page and use it to paint a picture of your ideal personal brand. People will only remember a few things about you, so focus on telling the story that contributes most to your brand. Use your personal story as the basis for your expertise.
    Keep your brand fresh. No matter how good your content is, you'll risk seeming stale and repetitive if you don’t continue adding new elements to your brand. You can’t ride one idea forever. Keep adding new layers to what you represent.
    Try to build relationships with as many people as possible. See How to Network. Get to know their real names and remember details about them.
    Build name recognition with influencers. In this instance an influencer is any person with an audience that you want to reach. Comment on their writing, keep track of them on social media, help them when they ask for it, if they have a blog try to guest-post (it must be your best stuff!).
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