The Importance of a Brand New You
Everyone knows the importance of competitive corporate branding strategies to market to a targeted group of people with unique offerings of specific goods or services. But what is often forgotten is that professionals each have their own personal brands, whether they know it or not. It doesn't matter if you are a top-level executive, an emerging leader, or an independent entrepreneur; you have a personal brand that you market all day, every day, in this changing economy. Individuals who clearly identify and shape their personal brands will be on the cutting-edge of business, while those who fail to do so will flounder and not be heard because of their diluted or confused branding message. Here are a few suggestions to guide you in the exploration of your personal brand so that you can intentionally leverage it to attract the kind of business success you desire.
Brands with Magnetic Personality
The concept of personal branding was first introduced back in 1997 when Tom Peters published an article in Fast Company magazine titled "The Brand Called You." A decade ago the idea was a novelty, but over time personal branding has evolved into an essential asset. Today we see a critical need for each individual to discover her or his personal brand and manage it proactively to survive in today's rapidly changing and competitive employment landscape. Regardless of whether you work in a large or small organization or operate as a solo entrepreneur, utilizing successful principles of branding is vital. Uncover your unique attributes, values, and passions and convey them through an insightful, powerful, and strategic personal brand and you can immediately catapult your career or business to a higher level.
I define personal brand as "the passionately expressed synergy of goals, values, strengths, skills, and talents to define you as distinct from your competitors as you identify and resonate with your target clientele." Your brand is the unique essence of who you really are and conveys your reputation in the marketplace. The importance of understanding and refining personal brand is that every day, 24/7, your personal brand advertisement is on display as you interact with others.
The Stand-Out Brand
With our current employment landscape in constant flux, record numbers of people who thought they had secure jobs in large, reliable firms are being downsized. The competition is greater than ever; consumers have more information and choices; and in the wake of the downfall of legendary U.S. companies, clients and customers are not sure who they can trust. In this atmosphere of uncertainty and skepticism, personal brands are critically important. If you are a high achiever in a major organization and you want to excel, expert personal branding is essential to ensure that you are recognized and tapped for promotions that will otherwise go to your colleagues. Small business owners also need to understand that their personal brands are an extension of their business and reputation, and they need to leverage them to successfully attract and retain their ideal target audience.
The Get Rich Niche
Knowing your personal brand and using it to hone in on a unique niche is an invaluable tool for any professional wanting to leverage his or her career with a uniquely beneficial offering. Once you have discovered your individual brand you will feel more at ease building relationships, marketing yourself, and promoting your business with passion, confidence, and enthusiasm.
By first exploring your personal strengths, attributes, passions and values, you can then define or refine those qualities that resonate with your ideal client base or targeted position in a firm. Focus on a specific niche or group of people when marketing your unique qualities, whether your goal is a company promotion or the overall marketing of your own business.
Companies pay a premium for high achievers who do an impressive job of marketing themselves and who stand apart thanks to a strong personal or company brand. And small business owners can get rich through "niching" to one particular pool of clients and becoming truly known as the preferred go-to expert.
As a pioneering and visionary innovator, Sarah is a certified professional image consultant and brand strategist, speaker, trainer and author. Her company, Illustra Consulting, provides leading-edge image and brand management strategies for top leaders and high achievers who wish to take their career to the next level. She also delivers innovative and inspiring corporate workshops to assist large organizations in strengthening their corporate brand.
Copyright © 2012, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS
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