10 Personal Branding Tips for Professionals

Business Networking

1.  Identify your desired professional brand (what you want to be known for)

  • The best personal brands provide value to others, and connect on a rational and on an emotional level
  • Rational Value: Your job function, expertise, experience and evidence
  • Emotional Value: Your personality, brand associations, likeability, trust factor, behaviors and image
  • What are the skills, qualities and brand attributes of sucessful people inside and outside of your organization?

2.  Assess the gap between your desired brand and how you are perceived today (your reputation)

  • What do others say about you?
  • Consider getting formal or informal 360-degree feedback
  • Prioritize your areas to improve and put them into your branding plan

3.  Create an “elevator pitch” that captures your unique brand positioning

  • A 15-30 second answer to “What do you do?”
  • Find ways to weave elements of your elevator pitch into a conversation without sounding canned
  • Be clear, compelling and CONSISTENT

4. Develop key value messages by stakeholder

  • Customize your value messages to the “care-abouts” of different audiences (such as CEO, CFO, department heads, team members and rest-of-world)

5.  Build a personal branding plan

  • Focus and do a few things well!
  • Your branding plan should include:
    • Areas to improve that affect brand perceptions
    • Challenges to overcome
    • Priority actions
    • Measurement

6.  Model and identify your Brand Ecosystem

  • It’s not what you say, it’s what others say about you
    • Focus on the small number of people who have the greatest influence  on your career and reputation
    • Pre-sell yourself and vet your ideas with influencers before broadening your communications efforts
    • Build long-term relationships and your network of references and advocates (third-party endorsements are key to credibility)
  • Provide 2-way value and be consistent in communications

7.  Implement your branding plan

  • Credible, visible brands advance faster
  • Don’t think of marketing your personal brand as promotion, think of it as education that benefits all.  Becoming a recognized brand enables the world to leverage your talents.
  • Understand how to brand beyond words
    • The emotional response to your brand will come from personal interactions: how you behave, your vibe, your voice, your gestures, what you wear, your likeability, your confidence
    • What are image and behavior areas that affect your brand?
    • What are cultural differences in non-verbal branding?

8.  Leverage portable branding in the age of social media

  • Establish and monitor your brand on Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Know that online mentions, photos and videos are part of your portable brand
  • Help yourself and others to create a positive brand for you
    • Consistent use of profile words and profile photos
    • Provide value online through articles, micro-blogging, knowledge sharing, thought leadership and links

9.  Deliver on your brand promise

  • Be true to your core values
  • Align your messages, actions and image with your brand
  • Deliver what you promise

10. Manage your brand as your most valuable asset

  • Your brand is dynamic and is enhanced or undermined by your words, gestures and images every day
  • Breaking the trust with your brand and stakeholders is hard to overcome
  • Invest in your personal brand, and you’ll reap the rewards!


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