4 Steps to Develop Your Personal Brand

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We all carry a personal brand that functions as our identity just like how products are branded. If you don’t brand yourself, others will do it for you based on how they perceive you, so make sure you’re consciously crafting your personal brand as you develop a presence on social media. Your brand should encompass who you authentically are as your best self, what you do and what makes you distinct from everyone else. The work you put into your personal brand will benefit your career.

William Arruda is known as the “Personal Branding Guru” and his own brand is based on enthusiasm, energy and passion. Watch his short introduction on personal branding here:

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Follow these four steps to start developing your personal brand:

  1. Your Background
  2. We often identify ourselves based on our work and this is the easiest way to start cultivating a brand. Put together a portfolio that encompasses all of your experiences and accomplishments. An extensive and thorough resume is just the first step. Include pictures of places you’ve traveled to, clippings of media you’ve been featured in, reference letters, art projects, a printout of your website’s homepage and whatever else you think of that speaks to your background. Compile everything in a binder or scan everything for a digital version.

  3. What You Value
  4. Creating a personal brand starts with really knowing yourself, including what you want in life and what value you give to the world. Identify your personal values and find a way to mesh them with your background. Consider the personality traits that you want to convey and think about how you’ll use those traits. Eventually pinpoint how you will distinctly market yourself in a way that’s fresh and unique. Let’s take a look at Oprah as an example: she uses her warmth (personality trait) to empower others (personal value) as a talk show host and philanthropist who relates to her audience through her personal experiences (background).

    You can be doing the same work as the next person — the difference is in how you do it, which is in line with how you provide value. For instance: what comes to mind when when you think of Simon Cowell? The first words that come to my mind are: bluntness and controversy. How about Paula Abdul? Sympathy and compassion. They’re both judges on American Idol, but convey themselves very differently. What do you want to be known for?

  5. How You Promote Yourself
  6. You want people to believe that you are what you believe of yourself. Based on the self-knowledge you’ve gained, develop an elevator pitch that can be narrowed down into a concise slogan or motto accompanied by a professional profile photograph. Keeping consistent with these details, you’ll create a memorable presence everywhere you leave a mark on the Internet. Make sure you also act and speak in line with the personal brand you’ve generated.

    Establish credibility by becoming an “expert” in your field. Answer questions on forums, Q&A websites and Facebook groups in your area of expertise. People will start recognizing you and recommending you as a resource. You can also try to get quoted on various media outlets by signing up with Help a Reporter Out and Reporter Connection. These websites connect “experts” with real journalists who don’t have the time to go looking for sources.

  7. The People You Know
  8. Don’t forget that who you hang out with reflects on your personal brand as well. Furthermore, your personal brand can either be weakened or strengthened based on what your network says about you, especially in public. This is why it’s so important not only to grow your network, but also to continually build real relationships with everyone you meet on social media. Part of what others say about you will be based on the information you give them, which validates the importance of maintaining a personal brand. The other part of what others say about you will be based on their impression of you, so try to always be friendly, courteous and appreciative online.

What has and hasn’t worked in the development of your personal brand?

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  1. Posted June 7, 2011 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    Great post, Samantha!
    I think this will help many people to coalesce their thinking and define their personal brand. I do think that your brand has to help you achieve your mission and, therefore, reflect that part of you as well.

  2. Posted June 7, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Samantha,

    I’m needing to, as Roy says, coalesce my thinking. Maybe I need to read this again. This is something I’ve been grappling with for over 2 years. I appreciate this post. It feels like a nudge to stop thinking about it and make it happen.

    Many Mahalos,

  3. Posted June 7, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Roy, thank you so much! And thank you for underlining the importance of using a brand to achieve a mission. I’ve been meaning to write a piece on mission statements!! =)

  4. Posted June 7, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    Carrie, I’m so glad to hear this! =) We all need nudges once in a while. =) Please do let me know if you have any questions along the way that I can turn into posts! =)

    In the meantime, I think your personal brand is developing quite nicely. =) When I think Carrie Tucker, I think caring and health expert. =)

  5. Posted June 8, 2011 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    These are foundational to create a brand. In developing a motto or mission statement to brand yourself, make sure you create one consistent visual that coalesces with it. A written brand (words) confirmed with a visual brand (picture) act kind of like super glue in the minds of those with which you share your brand.

  6. Posted June 9, 2011 at 3:48 am | Permalink

    WOW! That is such a powerful point, Sherry! I was thinking of writing an article on mission statements and will definitely keep your wisdom in mind! Thanks so much! =)

  7. Posted June 10, 2011 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    I’m so glad to have stumbled upon this post, Samantha. My own blog and writings make up such a large part of ‘who’ I am, that trying to translate that into terms of ‘brand’ is difficult. This is a great checklist of sorts to give me some guidance. *thanks!* –Kat

  8. Posted June 10, 2011 at 3:01 am | Permalink

    Kat, thank you so much for supporting me here! =) It was definitely a self-discovery process to even write this post, so I know what you mean! I’m so glad this can function as an outline for you and that you find it helpful! =) Hugs!

  9. Vinny t
    Posted June 13, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    I never thought too much about any of this,
    but find it all very fascinating,so much so that I’ll soon be thinking about creating my own personal brand.I’m pretty sure that some sort of “logo”should be part of one’s personal brand and I feel really challenged by the work involved in successfully completing this task. Any ideas about how long a “branding” project should take?

  10. Posted June 16, 2011 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    You already have a brand, Vinny! =) Your brand currently sells intelligence and kindness in my books! =)

    Good point about a logo! I’ve yet to design one for myself too!

    As for a timeframe on branding projects — they are really lifelong events because your brand can change and grow! In fact, there’s no real timeframe to setting the foundation either because it depends on how much work you want to put into it! =)

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