Recently I attended a personal branding seminar at my school entitled “Branding and the Importance of Marketing Yourself” featuring guest speaker Hayes Roth, UM alumnus and Chief Marketing Officer at Landor, a brand consulting firm. Roth spoke about branding in the general sense, but delved more deeply into the topic of branding yourself for the professional world.
What is a brand?
A brand, he said, is a set of associations, perceptions, and identities of a particular subject. It is a differentiating factor: it’s what separates something from a commodity or from being common. So branding is the communication of these perceptions or ideas.
What is personal branding?
So personal branding is communicating what it is about who you are that separates you from others. Developing a personal brand helps you communicate to employers, professors, interviewers, and anyone else you come in contact with, how you distinguish yourself from others.
How to develop a personal brand
To develop your personal brand, Roth gave attendees a formula to go by:
Core Essence/Idea: What do you do you love to do? What do you do well?
Promise: What do you bring to the table?
Reasons to believe: What evidence do you have for people to believe your core promise?
Personality of brand: What aspects of your personality helps you defend your core essence?
Target Audience Benefits: How does this benefit the people who you communicate with?
Here’s an example that I’ve created for myself. It’s not to in depth, but it helps me gain a sense of how to communicate myself, my personal brand, to others. Oh, remember this branding statement is just for you. I made it into a fancy document because I’m at school studying Advertising and Graphic Design, so it’s just my thing.
How to protect a personal brand
- The most important way to protect your personal brand is to FOLLOW THROUGH! Everything about the brand you create should actually be reflective of who you are so you can back up the promise with action.
- Get a business card. All it needs is your name, date for graduation, major, phone number, and email address, if nothing else.
- Get a LinkedIn account. Mine is a work in progress, but my resume is readily available online. Also get a personal website featuring your portfolio and other important works.
- Change your email signature. Make your email signature like you would your business card.
Remember, all of these tips are for your professional image. How do you want your potential boss to see you? Or a potential investor in your business?