Apparently Personal Branding is the next big thing in marketing. According to a recent Forbes article even the big companies are training employees in personal branding as part of their leadership training programs. More and more people are jumping on the personal branding bandwagon. I guess I am no exception to that.
My desire for a personal brand wasn’t born out of adoption of the trend; a company initiative; or narcissistic tendencies, but rather out of necessity. I was preparing a book proposal for my nonprofit organization. I came to the part where I have to tell the publisher about my platform and realized that I didn’t have one. I had experience and people, but no cohesive place for who I am and what I do. I stopped writing the proposal and started researching platforms and began my personal branding journey.
If you are reading this, then you have seen the result of that process.
If you are thinking of branding yourself there are a few things you should know before you begin. Things I learned along the way that I wish I would’ve known before I started.
- Know who you are, and who you aren’t
If you are thinking of personal branding, get comfy with who you are, because you are going to be spending a lot of time with yourself. I’m not lacking in confidence, but I also believe in the value of humility. I had no idea how hard it would be to talk about myself so much; have numerous pictures taken of myself; and develop a whole website around…me.
How did I deal with this? I looked at myself as a product or service I would market for one of my clients. I looked at the demo and psycho graphics of my customers and sought to meet the felt need. Not oversell or over-promise, just provide solutions to their problems and meet their needs.
- It takes a village. Okay maybe not a whole village, but at least a team
I was in over my head, I’ll admit it. I hadn’t a clue where to start. I had a learning curve a mile long and my tread was worn thin. I needed help creating and developing my personal brand. I enlisted the help of the best PR firm on the planet. They helped me craft my message, keep it consistent and put it into a package that can carry me forward for years. I couldn’t have done it without their expertise.
Unless you are an all-in-one marketing superhero, you won’t be able to personally brand yourself without help.
Not only do you need a team to put it all together and make it pretty, you need people to be your feedback filter. Enlist people in your professional and personal life to give you feedback along the way. You are far too close to the tree to see the whole forest when you are branding yourself. So trust others in your life to give you some honest feedback about you & your brand.
- It will cost you
Personal branding is not cheap, or easy; but nothing worthwhile ever is. Be prepared to spend a little money, if you want to do it right. Don’t go to fivver and pay the lowest bidder to create you logo. It may only cost you $20, but it won’t be personal and you won’t be happy. Just like a company logo, you want your branding to express you in a unique way. Don’t settle for mediocre when you can get the best.
You will spend more time, energy and thoughts on your personal brand than you care to admit to anyone out loud. Why? Because it’s important to get it right. Just like a company branding process, your brand is something you are going to have to live with for a long time. It’s okay for it to occupy your time, money and thoughts, at least temporarily.
Once you get it right, everything will fall into place, so be willing to spend the money and time to create the brand that truly encompasses who you are and what you have to offer to others.
Looking back, I feel like I have learned two years worth of experience in my four month process of personal branding. And hopefully, my process and what I learned along the way can help you as you embark on the personal branding journey.
Was it worth it? You tell me. Take a look around my website and let me know what you think.
What about you?
Are you considering taking the personal branding plunge?
If my tips help you in that process, or you have anything to add, let me know.
I’d love to hear from you.