Tips for Identifying, Building and Managing Your Personal Brand

Published Tuesday, June 01, 2010 9:31 AM

Who are you?

It is a timeless question.

The Caterpillar posed it to Alice in Wonderland. The Who made it an anthem of their generation. And most of us would likely admit to asking it to ourselves from time to time.

But knowing who we are is more than just a personal matter. As business management expert Tom Peters observed in his seminal 1997 Fast Company article, The Brand Called You:

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.

As Peters noted, over the last two decades, we have changed the way we work. For most of us, normal business life now consists of regularly switching jobs and occasionally shifting careers. One constant in this steady stream of change is our personal brand - the unique constellation of skills, interests, traits, passions and perspectives that we bring to our work.

According to Dan Schawbel, author of Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success , personal branding is an ongoing "process by which we market ourselves to others." It is also a constant process of learning how others perceive us. You know you are doing a good job of branding yourself, Schawbel says, "when self-impression is equal to perception (how you describe yourself is how other people describe you)."

The personal branding process starts with a good bit of candid self-scrutiny. Being as clear and specific as possible, you should identify:

  • Who you are - What do you consider your greatest personal and interpersonal strengths? What are your most notable personality traits?
  • What you do - What are your greatest professional interests and passions? What do you offer through your work that is remarkable and has measurable and distinctive value? What are you most marketable skills? What are you most proud of in your professional life?
  • Who you help - Who benefits from your work? How and why do you help these people? How do they benefit from working with you (as opposed to someone else)? What would they identify as your greatest attributes?

If you need some additional guidance, here are some great online resources on identifying, building and managing your personal brand:

Just as personal branding is an ongoing process, we consider this an ongoing dialogue on a very important topic. We welcome your comments, questions and experience shares about personal branding and look forward to continuing the conversation here and throughout the Beyond Folders Community.

by Carly Fadako


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