“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,'” said business guru Tom Peters in a 1997 essay that kick-started the personal branding movement.
Personal branding is becoming even more important because your brand now has more permanence and it is easier for others to find out about it thanks to the Internet. If you have a blog, your brand is really hanging out there for everyone to see.
Branding is not – I repeat – is not a thin veneer of calculated actions or communications designed to fool people into thinking a certain way about you. This may work for a short while but your true brand always emerges. So, when building your personal brand it must firmly sit atop your core beliefs and actions. It’s determining who you really are at the core, rather than inventing a brand that is not based on the truth.
If you want your brand to reflect honesty, you must first be honest. Duh!
The first step in personal branding is learning how others perceive you. Once you know this, then you can start building on the current perception or changing your behavior to help create a new one.
What is the Harry Hoover brand? I have always valued honesty, creativity, hard work, and I try to do the right thing.
Ten colleagues responded to my request to give me their view of my brand. Based on their responses, I believe I’m communicating my brand – and those values – effectively.
It’s like any other kind of branding: if you don’t first position yourself and then communicate your brand message, others will position you based upon their perceptions.
It is a new brand world for the individual. You need to get on board and build your personal brand.
Harry Hoover is a partner in My Creative Team. He has 30 years of experience in crafting and delivering bottom line messages that ensure success for serious businesses like Bank of Commerce, The Bray Law Firm, Brent Dees Financial Planning, CruisingTheICW.com, Duke Energy, Focus Four, Levolor, North Carolina Tourism, TeamHeidi, Ty Boyd Executive Learning Systems, VELUX, and Verbatim.