Working in PR, we always hear about “branding” or a “brands” and it got me thinking: are PR pros worried about their brands as much as the brands they work for? So I went searching around the web about maintaining a “personal brand” and boy, did I find A LOT, so much that this will be my first multi-part “series”, it will involve your “brand” how to create it, how to maintain it, how to market it and how to fix it if it’s been broken. Let’s move on to the first part: creating your personal “brand”.
“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.”
– Tom Peters in Fast Company
And now, 5 things you NEED to know about creating your “personal brand”:
- Figure Out Why You Need a Brand. Why do you need a brand, anyway? Maybe you’re thinking, “Gee, I really just want to be a publicist and pitch stuff and get coverage and go home” but EVERY professional needs a professional brand, and as a professional that specializes in branding, there is no reason you should NOT have a brand. Remember, brand=reputation and as a PR professional, your reputation is all you have, so cultivate your brand
- Focus Your Brand. What are you about? What is your brand about? Its great to have a lot of information, but remember: over-action leads to inaction. Have you ever been to one of those website that want you to pin them, follow then, give them your email address, Tweet them, blahblahblah…eventually, you just do nothing! Here’s an exercise: Write down your ultimate goal (for now, it may change), write down 10 things you like, then pick 5 things you love and then pick the thing that’s in the best alignment with your brand and there you go: focus. Stick to your focus for now, it may change after you build your brand up.
- What is Your “Brand Mantra”? Develop it. Now. I have a mantra for my brand: “Building a Career in PR from the ground-up” it’s short, concise and relates what my brand is about: building a career in the public relations/communications industry. Here are four steps, courtesy of Forbes.com: determine your emotional appeal (How do you make people feel?), determine your description (what words describe you?), determine your function (what do you do, exactly?) and finally, put it all together and there you have it, a short (no more than 5-7 words) and brilliant brand mantra.
- Create, your brand, Sync Your Online Presence & Take Control of Your Virtual Identity. One of the reasons I was so interested in “personal brands: is because of the prevalence of online content; anybody can create a brand courtesy of several online outlets. After you focus your brand, create it! Business cards, a blog, a website, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest…there are a million places to put yourself, so get to it! To maximize your brand, you should make sure ALL of your networks mirror each other. Once I decided to get serious about this blog and my goals, I changed all FOUR of my other social networks to mirror it: the design, the brand mantra, the bio and the logo. If you look me up anywhere, you will get the same message, re-enforcing the purpose of my personal brand. This also leads me to my final suggestion…
- LIVE Your Personal Brand. This sounds like common sense; but I assure you, it is NOT. What’s the point of going through ALL of the above steps and creating this amazing personal brand if when you’re given a shot, you blow it? I feel like falsifying your brand is just as bad as lying on your resume (pretty bad) , so if you say you’re awesome: then be awesome. Don’t say you’re “smart, hard-working, team-player and a natural multi-tasker” and then get there and be lazy, selfish and only able to do one thing at a time. We all can’t be superman (or super-publicist) but you do have positive attributes, play those up and then be true to them. The virtual world is just a rehearsal for the real world, so make sure they align.
Well, I hope you enjoyed the first part in the four-part series on your personal brand, make sure to check back next Sunday for Part II: Communicating Your Brand. Sources are below and enjoy the last few hours of the weekend!