10 Keys to Branding Yourself

Corporate branding and personal branding are more similar than one may think. The only real difference is that instead of marketing a product or service, a person is being promoted and sold to a recruiter or to personal clients. It is time to market you and treat yourself like a product with unique selling features. 

Although we’d like to think it doesn’t make a difference, let’s be honest, use your good looks if you have them. If you are starting up a fashion forward public relations firm, dress the part. By establishing a personal brand that allows you to differentiate and position yourself from the competition, you can claim your desired job or secure your small business as a leader in the industry. In ever-tiny young professional circles, reputations are important, after all.

Branding yourself is important when looking for a job in today’s relentless job market. In our current economy, your audience includes the hiring managers and recruiters that deal with thousands of resumes from eager applicants each day. Candidates are viewed as commodities and names on paper more than ever. Going the extra distance and providing some unique value will help you stand out if you hope to land your dream job. This can include things like video resumes, a creative means of delivery, or including a headline and sub headline on our resumes.

Of course, there is also the essential challenge of branding yourself for a new entrepreneurial business endeavour. Branding yourself allows you to easily engage with your clients, build trust, and thus solidify repeat business.

The key to effectively branding yourself is to first and foremost establish a personal brand identity. Be clear of your key messages about what you do and what you stand for within your chosen profession.The second step is to get the message and your name out there in appropriate circles through a variety of online and offline channels. It seems it takes quite a bit to impress these days and fickle young professionals and other audiences have seen it all. You must be unique and memorable; a brand that is easy to remember is easier to find. When branding yourself, remember that you must create a strong and consistent that is clear about who you are and who you are not. 

Here are a few things to consider…

Brand Elements 

Personal Appearance:This includes clothing, hygiene, attractiveness and poise.

Personality: This encompasses your energy, identity and behaviour.

Values: Which charities do you support? How are you socially conscious? For example, a YP we know with his own clothing line makes a point of visiting factories overseas to pay his due diligence and make sure everything is functioning properly. 

Competencies: What makes you an expert in your field? These include your experience, business skills, technical skills and special skills that help you do your job well and distinguish you from the rest. They are the pillars of quality that build a solid reputation within your industry and secure your value in the workplace. 

The Differentiator: What gives you or your organization a unique value or benefit to your target market? How are these elements consistent with the brand’s story? Be a memorable force and stand above the rest.

Growing Your Brand

Once the brand has been defined and established, it is of utmost importance to understand that it requires maintenance in an ongoing evolution that exists throughout an entire company or professional life cycle. As your experience, competencies, breadth and influence mature, so will the brand. Paying attention to the brand will ensure the proper messages are being communicated to the audience, which may very well change with the brand. 

Online Presence: Make sure that the online information available about you is accessible, relevant and reflective of your career goals. Remember to keep your personal life private, or as private as it needs to be, with information only available to those who you want to see it. Make sure your website, LinkedIn profile and any social media sites are up-to-date and active. Create and foster an online personality, frequently commenting on other people’s blogs, interacting with people on Twitter and producing thoughtful tweets and status updates. 

Maintain a Blog: An insightful and well-written blog focused on your area of expertise is another good addition to your personal brand and provides another medium through which to position oneself as a trusted expert. For example, a young real estate agent may blog about current design and décor trends, the city’s hottest neighbourhoods or new restaurant openings, to reveal her to be in-the-know with everything home and real estate-related. Similarly, a clothing storeowner may blog about current trends.  

Network and Maintain and Physical Presence: Attend industry meeting, conventions and events and make the appropriate contacts in your field. Do your research and be sure that all your pursuits are focused and relevant to what you have to offer and your career goals. Volunteering is also a way to use and demonstrate your skills and expertise, gaining exposure among peers as an expert in your career field. 

It’s all in the details: Little details like having a standard font, color scheme and logo make a big difference.  

Reflect your brand in every day life: Work with people that reflect the caliber of your brand and principles behind it. Don’t end up at a strip club with clients or attaching yourself to a product that doesn’t align with your own brand. Don’t work for a company that doesn’t reflect your brand and don’t hire people who don’t. No matter the dollar sign, a brand’s reputation is important and sensitive. First impressions matter in leaving lasting impressions.