personal brandingMany people think that branding is just for companies; each and every one of us is a brand. Personal branding, by definition, is the process by which we market ourselves to others. As a brand, we can leverage the same strategies that make corporate brands appeal to others. We can build brand equity just like them.

We can also have just as much presence as most start-ups and mid-size companies and products.  Start thinking about what face you want to show to the world and how you want to position yourself and your brand.

Discover your brand

Brand discovery is about figuring out what makes you different or your “point of difference”. That description is part of your brand, especially if you feel those attributed pertain to you. To know if you’ve discovered your brand, you need to make this equation equal:

Your self-impression = How people perceive you

What makes you different, important and relative to your audience. Once this uncovered, your marketing plan can be developed and executed.

Create your brand

Now that you have discovered your point of difference, the sum of all the marketing material you should develop for your brand is called a Personal Branding Toolkit. This kit consists of the following elements that you can use to highlight your brand and allow people to easily view what you’re about:

  1. Business card: The card should contain, your personal brand statement as well as your contact information and corporate logo if necessary.
  2. Resume/cover letter/references document: These are typical documents that you need. Be sure to prioritize each document with information custom to the target audience.
  3. Elevator Pitch: This may be the most important statement you create, in 20 seconds you need to be to define yourself and convey why that’s important plus how it equals results – first impressions matter.
  4. Blog/website: You need to own yourname.com or a website that aligns with your name in some fashion. Those who blog will have a stronger asset than those who don’t because blogs rank higher in search engines and lend more to your expertise and interest areas over time.
  5. LinkedIn profile: A LinkedIn profile is a combination of a resume, cover letter, references document and a moving and living database of your network. Use it to create your own personal advertising, to search for jobs or meet new people.
  6. Facebook profile: Over 160 million people have profiles, but almost none of them have branded themselves properly using this medium. Be sure to include a Facebook  picture of just you, use discretion when posting anything to Facebook.
  7. Twitter profile: Your Twitter profile should be carved out of your Facebook picture and used in your LinkedIn profile. You need to use a distinct background, fill out your profile and include a link to either your blog or LinkedIn profile.
  8. Video resume: A video resume is a short video of you talking about why you are the best for a specific job opportunity. You get about a minute or so to communicate your brand and are able to send the link, once you upload it to YouTube, to hiring managers.
  9. Wardrobe: Your personal style is tangible and is extremely important for standing out from the crowd. Select clothing that best represents you because it will be viewable through your pictures/avatars online, as well as when you meet people in reality.

What’s next?

After you spend the time on these parts of your personal branding toolkit, it’s time to showcase it to the world, especially your target audience. Don’t be fooled by the myth that if you build it, they will come. Unless you’re the luckiest person on earth, you’ll have to actually communicate everything you’ve created to others.