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How to Develop Your Personal Brand

A company’s success depends on its brand. A brand can be a combination of a name, a logo, a design, a slogan, a sound or jingle, an image or a symbol that instantly invokes corporate identity and reputation. People know exactly what to expect and what the advertising message is when they see a can of Coca-Cola, the golden arches of McDonald's or Twitter’s iconic bird; the same is true when they read Nike's “Just Do It” on a T-shirt or hear State Farm's “like a good neighbor” jingle or the “Star Wars” theme.

Just as corporate branding has become a critical tool in sales and marketing, personal branding is an important way for individuals to stand out in the crowd. As a professional, branding yourself can provide multiple opportunities. Developing, managing and nurturing a recognizable personal brand is crucial to building a successful, sustainable career. Branding yourself creates an image for how you want others to perceive you not only in the marketplace but also in your social circles. An effective, well-designed personal brand can help you find a job, climb the corporate ladder, attract better contacts and clients, grow revenue and awareness for your company and help you gain industry recognition. When you manage your own brand, you, not others, are in control of your identity and reputation.

According to management expert and author Tom Peters, “it’s a brand new world,” where a personal brand is inescapable. Peters writes in “The Brand Called You,” that “Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”

Tips for Building a Personal Brand

Just like a corporate brand, a personal brand begins with telling your story, simply and succinctly. Here are a few ways to go about building your presence and becoming more recognized in the world.

1. Start with a vision

Businesses create vision and mission statements. Branding yourself should also begin with your personal vision. You must decide what you want others to recognize you for. How do you describe yourself? What do you stand for? What are your passions? What are your core values? State your goals, your ambitions and your ideas. Do you know your strengths and weaknesses? What skills do you offer that make you valuable? Where do you see yourself professionally and personally in five or ten years? You can develop a one- or two-sentence summary of what you are about and use that to introduce yourself to others.

2. Communicate your brand

Handing our business cards face to face is still one way to promote yourself, but in today's instant, digital world, you need to develop an online presence. Most people — employers and clients included — will Google your name before they even meet you. Create a polished and professional profile on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Post updates regularly and make sure your profiles are in line with your brand. You can increase awareness of your brand on these sites and, depending on your expertise, you can create your own website or blog to show off your skills and knowledge as well as a positive portrayal of who you are. Consistently network through these websites with other professionals in your field so they will remember you.

3. Get involved

If you are currently involved in volunteerism or other charitable efforts, you should include this information on your resume and social media profiles to reinforce your personal brand. If you are a working professional, consider joining the board of a nonprofit organization to increase your involvement. In addition to charitable initiatives, become more engaged in professional organizations and efforts. If you are a student, expand your education while branding yourself by attending networking events, seminars, workshops and conferences. You may even find a mentor or strategist through one of these activities who can help you promote your brand.

Learn about the Baylor University online MBA program.


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