Think for a minute about your brand. Yes, even individuals can have a “brand identity,” according to author Marsha Friedman.
Personal branding has gotten a lot more buzz in recent times and has become an important tool for everyone who wants to improve their career or business opportunities, Friedman believes.
“I’m a big believer and have been touting the need for personal branding for several years. In fact, it’s the essence of my book, Celebritize Yourself,” Friedman said.
Friedman is a public relations expert with 25 years’ experience developing publicity strategies for celebrities, corporations and media newcomers alike. Using the proprietary system she created as founder and CEO of EMSI Public Relations, an award-winning national agency, she secures thousands of top-tier media placements annually for her clients. The former senior vice president for marketing at the American Economic Council, Marsha is a sought-after adviser on PR issues and strategies. She shares her knowledge in her Amazon best-selling book, Celebritize Yourself, and as a popular speaker at organizations around the country.
If you open a dictionary, the word “brand” is defined as a type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name. These days you need to be that product. A great example is Roy Rogers, the movie and TV cowboy who made “Happy Trails” popular and whose name and image appeared on toy holsters, lunch boxes, comic books, puzzles, coloring books and other merchandise in the 1940s and 1950s.
So what can you do to get your personal brand launched and keep it alive? Here are a few suggestions.
• Make sure your website represents you exactly the way you want to be seen. This is one of the best places to control your image. That could mean you want to be viewed as witty, intellectual or physically fit. It could mean you want the world to see you as an expert in a particular field. Maybe you want to convey an image of trust. Roy Rogers was the clean-cut hero wearing a smile and a cowboy hat. What’s your image?
• Maintain a strong social media presence. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites are invaluable tools for networking or getting your message out quickly under your personal brand. Also, make sure you have a unified message that weaves through your website, your social media sites and anything else you use to promote yourself. Design elements should be consistent from one platform to the next as well.
• Keep your presence alive in traditional media, too, making yourself available for interviews. Media appearances act as a third-party endorsement, casting you as an authority in your field. This also needs constant cultivation. If you were quoted in a newspaper article last year, then you’re last year’s news. Even worse, if your competitor is quoted in an article today, they’ve become more relevant than you and are winning the personal-branding war.
• Branding yourself is not a one-shot deal. One of the biggest misconceptions about branding is that people expect to do one or two things to promote themselves and then figure they are done. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your branding effort never stops. It’s like trying to become physically fit. You don’t go to the gym for one week to get your dream body – nor would you expect that a good workout three years ago would leave you set for life. Your personal branding effort is the same way. It’s ongoing.