When I started reading about personal branding 3yrs ago, My dad sent me a link to personal branding by Dan schawbel. I loved that he understood what it is I was slowly becoming, and made it his business to make sure i grow. I thank God for my folks!
Today, I share something Dan wrote as he talked about his book ME 2.0
How do you define personal branding and why is it important?
Dan Schawbel: Personal branding is how we market ourselves to others. Each and every one of us has a brand because we are constantly being judged based on first impressions. Also, we are forced to sell our ideas and unique abilities to all stakeholders inside a company or as an entrepreneur. Personal branding is critical in a world filled with clutter, competition and ambiguity. To be a brand means to use similar branding strategies that corporations and products use to create an experience – a friendship – with an audience. People trust people, and will therefore be more inclined to purchase your product or hire you based on their relationship with you or what they hear about you.
What are the benefits for building a brand?
Dan Schawbel: Just like corporate brands, people can demand a premium price (a higher salary). Also, you will become more visibility and recognized by your peers, hiring managers and other successful business people and entrepreneurs. With visibility comes speaking engagements, jobs, clients, celebrity and much more! Aside from self-promotion, you will establish a professional and social network, which will protect you from an uncertain work environment. You will also learn how to own your Google results and protect and secure your online identity.
How did you get involved with personal branding?
Dan Schawbel: In high school I recognized that I needed to stand out from everyone else to have a successful future, so I stopped going to summer camp and took my first internship at an internet company. When I was applying for colleges, I got deferred from my first choice, which made me work twice as hard senior year, take an interview at the campus and write a letter to help me get in, which I eventually did. Sophomore year I realized that it was going to be very competitive to get a job in marketing when I graduated, so I build a development plan that linked me to a series of internships in all marketing disciplines to set myself up for graduation.
The first few I got through connections, but then I had the audacity to go for big names, such as Reebok, Lycos and LoJack on my own. To each interview I brought my Personal Branding Toolkit, which contained a custom resume, cover letter, CD portfolio, website and business card. I stood out and graduated with 8 internships, 7 leadership positions and straight A’s. I thought I was the perfect candidate, but lacked a strong network, which I had ignored previously, so it took me eight months of hard work to get the job I wanted, as a product marketer at a Fortune 500 company.
After a year in this company, I started experimenting with social media, launching my Personal Branding Blog on March 14th, 2007. I realized that I was passionate about marketing, mentoring young individuals and all things social media, so when I read Tom Peter’s “Brand Called You” article, I knew it was written for me. From the blog, came the Personal Brand Awards, then a TV podcast series called Personal Branding TV, some freelance writing for magazines, and my own Personal Branding Magazine.
The result, after 6 months, was a press article in Fast Company. This article was found by my company’s PR group and sent to a Vice President. Instead of being interviewed, I was able to co-create the position, which aligned with my passion outside of work. Once this happened, I knew I had a story. My motto was “the goal of personal branding is to be recruited based on your brand, not applying for jobs.” That is exactly what will happen to you if you read this book!
What is your four-step process for building a powerful brand?
- Discover: In order to really understand who you are and carve out a career path moving forward, investing in self-discovery is critical. In fact, if you don’t spend time learning about yourself, your values, personal mission, and unique attributes, you will be at a disadvantage when marketing your brand to others. Start by removing yourself from distractions and ask yourself, “Who am I?” and, “If I could do anything, what would it be?”
- Create: Your personal branding toolkit may consist of a blog, Web site, business card, résumé, reference document, cover letter, portfolio, or even a LinkedIn profile. Each piece has to be consistent with the next and reflect the brand you discovered in Step 1.
- Communicate: Now it’s time to use everything you’ve created to let people know you exist. By attending professional networking events, writing articles for Web sites, and putting on your “personal PR hat,” pitch bloggers and traditional journalists to start gaining attention and recognition for the brand you created in Step 2.
- Maintain: As you grow, mature, and accelerate in your career, everything you’ve created has to be updated and accurately represent the current “brand you.” Also, you need to monitor your brand online to ensure all conversations about you are positive and factual. You can do this by using a combination of tools, including a Google Alert for your name.