Personal branding is no longer a nice-to-have marketing tool — it is essential. Whether you are starting to craft your freshly minted brand or reinvigorate your established one, here’s a look at eleven personal branding articles you can use to build a powerful brand.
Singer-songwriter, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter has it and television personality Kim Kardashian West has made millions from it. But what is “it” exactly? Savvy self-branding (also known as personal branding). Two of the world’s most talked about celebrities are brand masters; having created global enterprises from the mere mention of their name.
Think about the golden arches, a talking gecko, or three simple words: Just Do It! For millions of consumers, the companies McDonald’s, Geico and Nike come to mind. But they didn’t stumble upon this type of brand recognition overnight. They have mastered the art of business branding. Today, personal branding is just as valuable, and as essential as branding your business.
Many entrepreneurs and business owners focus exclusively on building their business brands. If you look closely at their business branding and marketing, it’s pitch perfect. The look and feel has been carefully coordinated. The messaging refined until it’s within an inch of its ideal customer profile. Platforms are chosen with the utmost care. Google Alerts conscientiously monitor every company mention. But when you take a closer look at what’s being done to help the leaders of the business manage their personal brands… silence.
Branding on a business-level is common, but today branding is becoming just as important on a personal level. After all, you might work for a business that works with other businesses, but it’s people working with people and that’s what makes business relationships valuable.
In popular imagination, personal branding is often equated with high-octane, flesh-pressing showmanship. But there are other, sometimes better, ways you can define yourself and your reputation. Taking the time to reflect and be thoughtful about how you’d like to be seen and then living that out through your writing and your interpersonal relationships (and even your décor) is a powerful way to ensure you’re seen as the leader you are.
The term branding has long been relegated to companies, but today almost every individual has a personal brand. Not many of us have consciously cultivated these brands, but they exist nonetheless. A digital footprint in the sands of time and space crowd sourced by friends, colleagues, and bosses. According to an AVG study, 92 percent of children under the age of two already have a digital footprint. The question is no longer IF you have a personal brand, but if you choose to guide and cultivate the brand or to let it be defined on your behalf.
Shelly Lazarus has been building brands at Ogilvy & Mather for more than 40 years. When she joined the agency in 1971, she was one of few women in the advertising field. Twenty-six years later, having steered successful branding efforts for clients such as IBM, Ford, American Express and Unilever, she was named its Chairman and CEO. What does this business trailblazer, Advertising Hall-of-Famer and current Board member of Merck, G.E. and Blackstone recommend to people who want to build their own brand?
Personal branding is becoming increasingly important because modern audiences tend to trust people more than corporations. Audiences are used to seeing advertising everywhere, and tend to believe corporations and organizations take actions and speak with only sales in mind. Personal branding allows you to establish a reputation and an identity while still maintaining a personal level of trust and interaction, usually through social media.
Perhaps we don’t have that much in common. Ah, but we do. Personal brands are we. Our agendas may differ—better job, more clients, book sales, or (your goal here)—but we seek the same things: recognition, respect, influence and success.
The social web is a game changer. It’s not a fad but an evolving ecosystem of web technologies that allow any individual to publish, promote and engage with a global audience. The real power of this is that it has put the tools in your hands should you choose to use them. No longer do you have to pay the mass media gatekeepers to be published or to gain attention. Passionate and creative individuals that understand how this works can go from zero to hero.
As the world population hits 7 billion, startup barriers to entry decrease, social technology usage multiplies, fragmentation of media consumption continues, and the movement of people and ideas increase — can entrepreneurs afford not to brand themselves?
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