Personal branding has been the “Buzz du Jour” lately on LinkedIn. Numerous career coaches,
brand evangelists, etc. have been posting their content in discussion groups stressing the need for people to establish their credibility via various social networks comparable to a company/consumer brand. Interesting given I first learned this concept back in 1997 when I picked up an issue of Fast Company at LAX and read an article by management guru Tom Peters. The article was titled The Brand Called You. What has changed in the last sixteen years? From my point of view, little! The concept of personal branding remains the same. We now have more touch points to manage thanks to the collaborative tools of Web 2.0.
May I share what I believe are the key components of personal branding or what I title the marketing of Me Inc.:
- Self-Analysis – Start by answering a basic question: Who am I? Take out a piece of paper and jot down all the characteristics that make you, you! Suggestion: Focus on what really makes you different. An example: Analytical, keen sense of humor, extroverted, love sports, special interests, etc.
- Roadmap Development – Now that you know what you are all about, it is time to drill down and answer two tougher questions: What do I want to be when I grow up (a.k.a. vision statement)? How am I going to get there (a.k.a. mission statement)?
- Reputation Management – The easy part. Figure out both online and offline where you can increase your visibility based on what you learned via self-analysis and roadmap development. If you’re not sure how this is done, try to get in touch with a personal reputation management company. Join LinkedIn Groups that will enable you to engage and aggregate information with other people who are analytical. Read blogs written by market researchers (note: don’t forget to engage by leaving comments). Join a local sports team in a sport that you enjoy. Volunteer to captain or coach the team to hone your leadership skills. In the process of reputation management you will develop persona.
- Commitment – The final component is to stay committed. Too many things happen on one’s adventure that distracts people from achieving their roadmap. That is why they call it life. Be flexible, but remember, stay committed! Commitment = Focus!
Are you ready to start Me Inc.? Good luck!