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Rebranding Yourself

Posted by admin | Personal Branding | Sunday 15 February 2009 10:17 am

Until recently all you needed to be successful was to develop yourself enough to deliver a certain level of value. But that is fast changing. And thats the reason why even average guys who aren’t particularly good at what they do still get opportunities that launch them into a level of achievement that their more adroitly prepared peers cannot attain [I speak from experience!]. So what exactly is the reason why these good guys don’t get as much opportunities or as rewarded as they should? Well, its the same reason why an unadvertised but excellent product stay in the warehouse and never gets sold. However,certain products just sell because every body knows them and have come to trust them. In marketing they are said to be strong brands.

I might just want to use this example to drive home a point. Now a lot of people like Paris Hilton and a lot others just loathe her. Notwithstanding she’s a strong brand. So it didn’t come to me as such a surprise when I heard that she was offered a Million Dollars just to talk about how she developed such a compelling brand. But if i may ask how skilled is she anyway? …she is just a strong brand. So can you imagine what it would look like if you had skills and a strong brand identity.

The truth is that in today’s increasingly competitive world, the only way to survive and get value for your worth is to  develop into a strong brand. Repackage yourself in such a way that your real worth comes through…. whether you know it or not you already have a brand. This has been developed either consciously or unconsciously. People you live and work with already have a perception of your value. But the goodnews is that you can rebrand yourself just like companies have been know to do.

Just this month [February 2009] I stumbled into the news that Private Security Contractor; Blackwater was being renamed Xe [Pronounced “Z”]. This decision came as part of an ongoing rebranding effort to recover its tarnished image resulting from a September 2007 guns-for-fire scandal where employees of the organisation were involved in unlawful shooting of about 17 iraqies in Baghdad’s Nissour Square.

So if successful companies can find a need to rebrand and believe in its value irrespective of the huge capital outlay or involvement, then why shouldn’t you? This is important because rebranding, re-defining or re-inventing yourself would make your name known, enhance people’s perception of you and and open doors for you socially and professionally.
The first thing you must take note of before you begin to rebrand is that it takes time to change people’s perception and alter or shift their ideas about you. So patience is of essence here. But what is very critiacal is that you take ownership of your personal rebranding project…and take it seriously. A good place to begin would be to seat down and evaluate your current brand. How strong is it? How do people perceive you? Are you known within your profession, social circle or other areas of influence?  Is your current brand like a milestone over your neck that is drowning your social and professional potential or is it enhancing your performannce?

For a brand to be successful, it needs to be [1]  Compelling to its market; [2] Authentic; [3] Consistent; and [4] known.You might want to evaluate your current brand against these [four] criteria. 

A brand is COMPELLING to its market if it is appealing. It’s “AUTHENTIC” if it is original. It is CONSISTENT if it stays on message [For example, what exactly is it that are you known for? Tiger Woods is synonymous with golf, Drogba with Football, and Mc Donald with Burgers-All of these are on message. Finally, a brand is said to be KNOWN if suffient enough people are familiar with its other three qualities.

Weigh your personal brand against these criteria carefully. And take appropriate action.

1. Find out what it is about you that is compelling and figure out how best to more potently engage that attribute.
2. Check to ensure that you are authentic. You can only be second best if you copy someone else.
3. Make sure you are not self-destructing by hopping between messages. People need to know what you stand for. What it is that you are an expert at?
4. Finally you need to figure out how to package and market yourself.

Bottomline, evaluate your current situation and then develop a strategy to improve your brand.

Developing your Personal Brand

Posted by admin | Personal Branding | Saturday 14 February 2009 7:50 am

 

Some people are socially invisible because they think they do not have some of the things they think they should have as yet. And they hope to show up sometime in the future-by which time they hope they would have gotten it all together. But I think that is absolute nonsense! Why do I say so? Your worth does not depend on what you have but who you are. And that’s an important place to start this discussion on Personal Branding.

What is personal branding anyway….well while researching the subject sometime ago I stumbled on this definition [not sure of the original source]:

“The process of uncovering and marketing your core competencies to meet an audience’s needs, resulting in your financial freedom and fulfilment.”

While I agree with this definition to some extent, I’d prefer to focus on Personal Branding in a more general sense. And in this case I’d choose to explain it simply as the understanding of who you are, what your values are and what you’ would like to be known for. You need to prop up and market yourself, your skills and personality in a manner that says, “this guy isn’t some kind of nobody that has nothing to offer”, because really there’s hardly anybody that it that deficient. We all have our style, persona and unique skills that marks us out as distinct but the trouble is usually how we come through to others. We often short-sale ourselves in a manner that a lot people think is modesty…and the result is that you end up being treated like a piece of rag. Building a strong personal brand will not only help you recover, it would increase your perceived value.

 To understand Personal branding, we must understand some of its key components. These include your personality, your performance, your values/standards, your signature look or style and indeed everything about you. For example you don’t want to look shabby and unkempt and expect people to treat you in some special way the reason is that what you wear says something about you. Someone once said dress in the way you would like to be addressed. Develop a reputation for being early, organised, fair, being the guy who prefers giving rather than taking, treat people respectfully, be positive [people generally have a hard time hanging around people that sulk]. Develop a niche and get very good with that area. Let people know that you are an authority when it comes to that area. The thing here is sell…sell…sell. All that kind of thing!

And what you’ll notice is that as your personal brand develops, people begin to trust and respect you. Your influence increases and you begin to have special effects on people. They are willing to stake their own reputation just to defend yours. They want to hang around you. They want to do business with you and help you. To get there you need to be creative, expand your network, walk up to people and greet them. Engage them in a chat. Get a complimentary card, give them out to people you meet [they don’t cost a fortune nowadays]. You might need a blog, a website or something …the overall purpose of all of this is to tell people who you are, what you can do and then leave it up to them if they would like to associate with you.

With good value…I bet a lot of people want to connect with you. If you doubt me then just ask celebrities and stars like Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, David Beckam. All these folks have branded themselves excellently…people know who they are, what they do and …loads want to connect with them. You may not wind up creating that level of effect but at least in your sphere of influence, you can stand out…its only when you can achieve this that you can really make some difference.