Career Coach: Creating your personal brand

By Ken White
Monday, March 7, 2011

You spend much of your professional life making sure your organization, its services and products are branded and differentiated. But how much effort and thought are you spending on branding and differentiating yourself?

Your personal brand is a description of yourself, your talents and what you offer -- the qualities that make you uniquely distinguishable. Your brand helps to define how you position yourself in the marketplace and how people will perceive you. It's important. It's your reputation. It's worth some of your attention.

Tips for creating your brand

Here are some basic steps to consider when it comes to creating and promoting your personal brand.

1. Identify what you provide or offer professionally. Before people enter into a relationship, they ask, "What's in it for me?" If you can answer that question by explaining how you add value, you will greatly increase the chances of forming meaningful relationships and building your brand.

2. List the elements that differentiate you from others. It's all about niche and focus. Talk to your most trusted colleagues, friends and competitors and ask them to identify what makes you different and better.

3. Determine exactly what you want to convey about your personal brand and create a communication and marketing plan to promote it.

4. Be consistent and deliver on your brand promise every time.

The marketing of you

Once you have defined "Me Inc.," the next step entails spreading the word. There are three specific communication arenas you need to consider. Let's call them "old school," "online" and "in person."

Old school

People have been promoting themselves in the "old school" manner for decades, and this approach is still important and very much alive. Old school involves your résumé, your references and a portfolio of your work. Make sure these tools are flawless and up to date.

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