3 steps to Successful Personal Branding

PR, Social Media and Building YOUR Signature Brand

I finally got around to reading ME 2.0, one of last year's best selling career guides by Dan Schwabel.

The book is geared towards young professionals just coming out of college. However, personal branding is especially important for CEOs and emerging executives - even if you are in the ideal job with no plans to seek employment. In fact, that is the ideal time to create your personal brand.

Why should a personal brand be important to you?

1) You are only as relevant as your most current accomplishment. If you aren't relevant, you are replaceable.

If you are replaceable...
You lack job security
and / or
Your company may fade into obscurity

2) Visibility creates opportunity… for BOTH you and the company you work for.

3) The general public is increasingly demanding ‘transparency’ in an organization. By encouraging your executives to develop their personal brands, you naturally increase trust in your organization.

According to Dan Schwabel, William Arruda, Krishna De and Mike Myatt... Personal Branding is defined as: Personal branding describes the process by which individuals and entrepreneurs differentiate themselves and stand out from a crowd by identifying and articulating their unique value proposition, whether professional or personal, and then leverage it across platforms with a consistent message and image to achieve a specific goal. In this way, individuals can enhance their recognition as experts in their field, establish reputation and credibility, advance their careers, and build self-confidence.

I tend to be a more direct person, so I would define “Personal Branding” as strategically positioning yourself as a center of influence.

As you begin to develop your personal brand, here are three keys to success:

Be authentic
Genuine… Transparent… The proverbial ‘good guy’…

No amount of personal (or corporate) branding can make a turd smell like roses. In our digital age, there isn’t much out there that is private any more. If you attempt to create an image that overinflates your experience or accomplishments, it will be discovered and you will lose all credibility.

Build relationships
We’ve all been at the networking event where some schmuck walks through the crowd, hands you a business card, and moves on to the next prospect. And, with social media, you can ‘pass’ your virtual business cards to hundreds of people a day without leaving your house…but you’ve done nothing to establish your expertise with them.

When meeting people in person, or online, you have to genuinely be interested in building relationships.

Be visible
Being ‘visible’ has many implications. During season in Collier County, you could attend half a dozen networking events every night of the week. While you would certainly be visible, you would probably be exhausted as well.

Remember in my definition of personal branding I included “strategically” positioning yourself? First you must identify who you want to see you.

As a business professional, I would assume you would like to be visible to local business leaders. You strategy might include:
1) Sending press releases to
Naples Daily News Business Section, Gulfshore Business Magazine, Gulf Coast Business Review, Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Council of Collier County.

2) Building a profile on LinkedIn and connecting to local professionals via the Naples LinkUp group.

3) Joining AND networking in a targeted industry association such as CBIA, NABOR, PRSA or the ABWA. You have to be more than a checkbook-member though… and really have a desire to build relationships.

4) Writing articles or blog entries about your industry. To me, a respectable blog is formatted and factual like an article, so I use the terms interchangeably. Publishing relevant, interesting information demonstrates your expertise and provides instant credibility.

5) Book speaking engagements to deliver your message in person, with a professional presentation.

There are many factors to fine tune your personal brand. Don’t get lost in all the details, just make a check list and take it one step at a time.

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