Written by Lori Thiessen

In 1997, management expert and author Tom Peters wrote an article for Fast Company Magazine introducing the concept of personal branding in the article called ” The Brand Called You”. Twelve years on and we are inundated with information on what it is, why you need do it and how to do it. Here are the bare-bones basics to get you started.

What is Personal Branding?

Simply put, it encapuslates who you are, what you do and what values you bring to the table that separate you from the rest.  The elements of personal branding range from your mission statement, your online presence (or lack of one), how you dress both in and out of the office and what your values are.

Why You Need to Invest in Personal Branding?

While doing research for this post, I came across a number of experts who said that personal branding was important now more than ever during this economic downturn. If the boss can remember you clearly and in a positive way, chances are you will hang onto your job. Or be hired for a job. Or if you are an entrepreneur then a client might be more inclined to hire you over the 3 other people she interviewed to do the work she wants done.

I think personal branding is important to work through because it will help you to know yourself. Knowing yourself is important because then you will be able to be clear about where you stand in the world, what you want out of life and what you are truly willing to do to get it. Or as Georgina Laidlaw, contributor to Webworker Daily,  observed “Personal branding could be another phrase for self-awareness”.  I would add to that personal branding is self-awareness clearly communicated to the public.

Authors over the centuries have been extolling the virtues of  self-awareness. Here are just two for you to mull over:

This above all: to thine own self be true; And it must follow, as the night the day; Thou canst not then be false to any man. — William Shakespeare, Hamlet I.iii

Self-reverence, self knowledge, self-control. These three alone lead life to sovereign power. — Alfred, Lord Tennyson

How to Develop Your Personal Brand

Well, this is a big topic these days.  To get you started, take pen and paper, block out at least 1/2 hr to begin with, go to a place that allows you to think well and answer the following question: Who am I?

If the question is too overwhelming and daunting, then break it down. What are the positive things that friends and family say about you? Are you funny, considerate, organized, etc.?

Look at past reference letters. What do they say about you? What do your current co-workers say about you?

What are your values? Are you a ‘family first’ person? Do you value loyalty? If so, how important is it to you?

The next few posts will continue on the quest for personal brand development. But if you are keen to explore this topic on your own, here are a few resources to help you on your quest.

Books

In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters

Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success by Dan Schwabel

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey

Blogs

Personal Branding Blog by Dan Schwabel

The Personal Branding Blog by William Arruda and contributors

Webworker Daily “Personal Branding vs. Self-Awareness” by Georgina Laidlaw

Q: What do you think about personal branding?

Thanks for dropping by and I’ll save your seat until next time!

Advertisements