Peter Montoya, author of The Brand Called You, defines personal branding as a personal identity that stimulates precise, meaningful perceptions in its audience about the values and qualities that person stands for.
It is important in our day and age to build and foster a positive personal brand as it is very easy for potential employers (and even partners) to find out information about us online, on sites such as Facebook.
Therefore we need to create a personal brand which plays to our strengths and portrays us as we would like to be seen, not the way that the random amalgamation of Facebook pictures presents us.
Nitish Bhalotia presents a personal branding pyramid in her essay titled, Personal Branding: Me Inc, which gives the following four steps in how to create a personal brand.
Step 1 – Determine who you are
The first thing to do is to start thinking of yourself as a brand. You are the marketer of your own brand, so sit down and identify your biggest strengths and most noteworthy personality traits. Determine your unique selling point by defining what it is that makes you out of the ordinary.
Step 2 – Determine what you do
Personal branding is not applying an attractive mask; it is understanding what ones values are and learning to make these values relevant to other people. Much of developing a personal brand centres on identifying personal values. (Bhalotia, 2004)
Step 3 – Position Yourself
Identify the qualities and characteristics that make you distinctively different from your friends, classmates or colleagues and use these to position yourself in the job market place.
Step 4 – Manage and market your brand
Tom Peters explained in an article in Fast Company, that for most branding campaigns, the first step is visibility and that as the marketer for brand You, you have to achieve visibility with no budget. He continues that the key to any personal branding campaign is word-of-mouth marketing.
The way in which to achieve great visibility with no budget through word-of-mouth advertising is to strike online. The best way to market yourself is through creating a blog about what you love. For tips on how to create a blog that speaks volumes check out my post titled What the Blog. Then advertise your blog on Facebook to your friends and family to build a loyal following.
I hope that these tips help you on your way to a building an effective personal brand. For more tips on how to create your personal brand, have a look at the following articles which I referenced in my post:
Bhalotia, N. 2004. Personal branding (Me Inc.)
Peters, T. 1997. The Brand Called You. Fastcompany.com (to view the article click here)