Key2Success-500pixWe are all in marketing – marketing ourselves and our careers. Every step you take in advancing your careers is a marketing activity. And at the core of any marketing activity is the brand – in this case, your Personal Brand. For a moment, think of yourself as a product, like an mp3 player. Mp3 players can be found for less than $5, but the least expensive Apple iPod is $50 – ten times more. Why? The answer is simple – Apple’s brand value. Similarly, every time we put our name on a piece of work we are adding our brand to that work and the value of that work can go up significantly if we have actively and consciously managed our Personal Brand. So how do you create and maintain your Personal Brand so that it imparts the same type of value boost? Read on…

Personal Branding is irrespective of profession and type of work. Accountants, engineers, plumbers, doctors and carpenters – all of us have a brand. We need to make a conscious effort and decide what we want our Personal Brand to be, and it is part of our job to manage it effectively. As Tom Peters said in an interview with Fast Company, “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.“. We also have to keep in mind that our Personal Brand is not granted to us; it is earned and achieved. Again Tom Peters said, “What is it you are giving to the world that is so valuable that the world will reward you back with a powerful personal brand?”

The first step is to decide what you want your brand to be and what you want it to stand for. The most successful Personal Brands will evolve around something about which you are passionate. Passion makes your brand genuine, which is a key ingredient shared by top brands. Consider:

•    What you are naturally good at
•    What are you passionate about
•    Your areas of expertise
•    Your career accomplishments
•    Work that you enjoy doing
•    Words that best describe you – insightful, resourceful, determined, etc.

This helps you define and refine your areas of expertise and your strengths. Focus on building your brand around them.
The next step is communication and promotion. As with all successful brands, messaging across all channels must be consistent and purposeful. Just as if you were promoting a product’s brand, ensure all your social media activities, advertising and website are aligned and communicating/reinforcing the same message. Analogous to a product website; you need a centralized and comprehensive online presence which is at the core of your brand. This is a digital profile/portfolio that communicates your accomplishments in the most compelling way. Make all your social media activities point to this central location to reinforce the message when the viewer arrives at the central profile. As much as people have tried to use their social networking profiles as the core of their branding, the desired results have not been achieved. This is simply due to inconsistencies, the fact that they are not built to be a portfolio management system and are a nightmare to manage/maintain.

Finally, maintaining your brand is just as important as building it. Remember to keep your message consistent.  Make sure you maintain the consistency both online and offline. If you post or tweet something, it should reinforce that material in your comprehensive profile. And of course, keep everything updated so your brand stays current.

So get your professional profile and story on a comprehensive multimedia profile platform. Then align all your social media communication with the material in your profile. Get your brand going, put the passion into it, and you will start seeing results.