Tips for Personal Branding – Part 1

Last week we talked about whether one person – not just a business – can be considered a brand. That’s absolutely true, whether you’re a self-employed, one-man company or part of a giant, international corporation. By creating a constructive, consistent reputation in terms of your skills, work ethic and values, you can establish a brand that works for any form of employment – and can even help you land that next great gig.

If you’re just getting started, here are a few tips that can help you build a personal brand:

1. Discover your personal brand. Before you can get started, you have to come to terms with the type of characteristics you want to associate with. As we discussed last week, these shouldn’t be vague or idealistic descriptions. These should be honest assessments of your strengths and skills. Figure out your most positive and relevant traits that are true to you – but have to do with the product or service you’re selling. Remember to stay away from vague terminology or buzz words, as well as anything too technical and industry-specific. Ask your friends and co-workers what words they would use to describe you; they will often have an honest and objective opinion. Whatever they see as an outsider will most likely be what someone else sees in you when they meet you, and it’s important for you to know how you read off the bat. Then you just need to refine and enforce the messages you put out into the world when you’re creating a personal brand.

2. Define your personal brand. Choose three key characteristics and one strong message for yourself. For example, if you’re a clown for children’s birthday parties, your key characteristics might be reliable, entertaining and great with children. Your message might be along the lines of: “Kids never stop smiling.” You can incorporate similar imagery throughout your advertising, such as smiling kids and fun parties. If you simplify your brand down to a few definite terms, they’re easier to remember and share with others. You can elaborate on your skills and experience in other places, such as on the About Me page of your personal website. But the superficial messages that you want to filtrate through people’s consciousness when they think of you should be immediate, simple and consistent.

Check back next week for Part 2 – with even more tips on how to create a personal brand.

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