3 Steps to Jumpstart Your Personal Brand

What do Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah, Michael Jordan, and Bill Clinton have in common?
They all have very distinctive personal brands. These brands are so well-defined that simply saying these people’s names evokes a perception of what they do, how they do it, and what kind of person they are. The power of having a personal brand that helps to define who you are so sharply that your name is evocative of your style can be considerable, both in your personal and your professional life.
A personal brand is essentially what you are known for and what people seek you out for. If you’re the go-to person for graphic design, then your personal brand is all about graphic design, even if that is not your job. If you are known for always cheerfully turning around well-done products in a short amount of time and your boss comes to you to help whenever there’s a crunch, your personal brand includes your being a reliable source for getting work done well when there’s a pinch. This article defines personal brand as something that helps grab “ownership of words in our minds.” When developing a personal brand, you want a few definitive and positive words, phrases or concepts to be solidly and readily associated with you.
From both a personal and professional standpoint, having a personal brand can serve as a sort of shorthand to let people know who you are without a long explanation about you. And being well-known for something, particularly a valued skill or attribute, can lend to your cache. Having an established personal brand can help you get ahead both in your personal life and professional life; if you have a brand, often your name will be the first one to pop into people’s minds when they need or want a particular thing, and being known for being good at what you do can help propel you to greater heights in your business. It’s easier now more than ever to cultivate and reinforce your personal brand given the proliferation of social networks available and the ubiquity of blogs and other sources that can help you establish who you are and what you do in your own words, visible not just to the people in your immediate sphere of influence in daily life, but to people all over the world.
For me (Dux), being a visible SharePoint thought leader has helped me cultivate a personal brand in the industry that brings value not only to myself but to my company as well, Innovative-e. By parlaying my skills and my personal brand to support Innovative-e’s business, and that, in turn, helps me reinforce my personal brand further.
Do you have a personal brand? Would you like one? We’d like to share three tips to help you identify and reinforce your personal brand so you can leverage it in both your personal and professional lives:
  1. Identify Your Goal:

    a. What do you want to get out of this? Are your goals purely personal, or business-driven, or both?

    b. What do you want to be known for? Think of pithy, punchy words or phrases that capture the essence of what you most want to be known for.

    c. What potential value can this bring to your business? Can your business then help reinforce and support the brand you’ve chosen for yourself?

    d. How long will it take to establish your personal brand? Develop a game plan with a multi-pronged approach to help you determine the best ways to spread the word about your personal brand (you’ll find some ideas below).

  2. Employ a Holistic Approach:

    a. Leverage social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) to help refine and reinforce your personal brand; develop a distinctive "voice" that helps your social contacts know that your tweets, for example, are really from you, and that your branding is consistent and easily recognizable.

    b. If you have access to PR sources, use them to further establish your brand. If your PR resources can give you advice about how to develop your personal brand, leverage that. If your PR resources can help you propagate your brand by sharing content you generate with outlets you don’t ordinarily have access to, definitely use that help with positioning the hallmarks of your personal brand.

    c. Develop content to help reinforce your expertise and personal brand. Write blog articles or articles for external sources, like trade websites. If you have the opportunity to speak, create an abstract for your topic and shop yourself around to outlets that will let you share your expertise and simultaneously build up your brand.

    d. Participate in groups such as community groups and industry organizations like IAMCP to network and help you become known among your peers by your personal brand. The more exposure you can garner to reinforce your personal brand, the more solid it will be.

  3. Be a Thought Leader and Not a Used Car Salesman

    a. People want to buy but they don’t want to be sold to. Confidently share your expertise and people will want to know more.  Push too hard and people will be turned off by what they perceive to be a pushy sales pitch.

    b. Provide value. Listen first to understand where people are coming from and what they need.  Then, provide them with the information they need along with additional information you want them to have.   This process makes the listener receptive, reinforces your personal brand and can drive interest in the offerings you and your company bring to market.

Want to learn more about personal branding to enrich your personal life and especially your professional life? Come join us — Dux Raymond Sy and Ray Rasmussen — as we discuss how to Maximize Your Personal Brand, a session that is part of the Emerging Leaders Track at WPC, July 8, 3:30-4:30 pm in Room GRBCC:340 AB.
We look forward you to seeing you at the session, and throughout the entire conference! When you see one of us, expect us to ask how you want to define yourself, your personal brand!​