What is personal branding and why is it so important?
The Changing World of Work
The world of work has been changing rapidly during the past decade due to increased globalization, the proliferation of online social media, and technological advances which are blurring the boundaries between work and personal lives.
However, in the past year because of an incredibly difficult economy, changes have been even more rampant. Layoffs are the word of the day and for the FEW remaining jobs that are available, the competition is INTENSE to say the least.
Personal Branding has been around for a while and really caught on when Tom Peters authored an article called "The Brand Called You" in a 1997 issue of Fast Company magazine. In this article, he talks about how everyone is a brand and has a chance to stand out, not just the large consumer products companies with massive marketing budgets.
"Today brands are everything, and all kinds of products and services—from accounting firms to sneaker makers to restaurants—are figuring out how to transcend the narrow boundaries of their categories and become a brand surrounded by a Tommy Hilfiger-like buzz.
"Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. 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."
Personal branding picked up steam with the founding of the Reach Personal Branding Club in 2001. In the last 12 months, personal branding has become a household word as individual job seekers and small business owners try to figure out how to stay afloat in this very difficult economy.
What Makes You Unique, Makes You Successful
Personal Branding is about identifying and then communicating what makes you unique and relevant and differentiated for your target audience, so that you can reach your career and/or business goals. If you understand your strengths, skills, passions, and values, you can use this information to separate yourself from your competitors and really stand out.
Personal branding is very powerful because it sends a clear, consistent message about who you are and what you have to offer. A strong, authentic personal brand helps you become known for what you're good
at, sets you apart from everyone else, and can position you as a niche expert.
I became passionate about personal branding more than four years ago when I was transitioning from employment as a career counselor in higher education to a career coach in private practice. At that time, I joined The Reach Branding Club a membership-based personal branding community with resources related to developing and expressing your personal brand. I signed up for one of the early courses in personal branding and began working with the Reach360 Personal Branding assessment. I have since become certified in Reach's 1-2-3 Success!™ process which is a three-phased approach to brand identification, communication, and management.
Extract, Express, Exude; 1-2-3- Success!™
The first and most important step in the process is the "Extract" phase, where you do your own market external research and introspective analysis. One of the first steps in the "Extract" phase is the 360Reach Personal Branding Assessment, which has been used by nearly 1 million people worldwide (career professionals, entrepreneurs, small business owners). It is a Web-based confidential personal branding tool that helps you get the real story about how you are perceived by those around you and what sets you apart. It provides honest feedback about how you are perceived and what your professional reputation is. These data are synthesized and combined with input provided by you on your VPs (Vision, Values, Passion, and Purpose) and your career goals.
In phase two, the "Express" phase, you decide how you are going to communicate your unique attributes and qualities to the people who need to know about you (your target audience). In this phase, you'll craft your Personal Brand Statement, Branded Bio, rework your resume, elevator pitch, and other career tools that will be essential to reaching the goals you have identified above. A comprehensive communications plan is developed based on your communication style and preferences.
In phase three, the "Exude" phase, you learn about how to reflect your brand in everything you do. including your personal network, your use of technology, office surroundings, your identity system, your appearance, your volunteer activities, etc.
Read more about the 1-2-3 Success!™ program in Time Magazine.
Personal Branding is clearly communicating the unique promise of value that you offer.
William Arruda, Founder, Reach Branding ClubSource: www.aspireforsuccess.com