How to Create a Powerful Personal Brand

The cover story of the April 2012 edition of Entrepreneur Magazine is “Secrets of the 10 Most Trusted Brands.”  I immediately turned to that story because I figured it would have some great career success advice…And I was right.

A powerful personal brand is an important key to creating your career success.  It is the first step in creating positive personal impact.  Tweet 61 in my career advice book Success Tweets says, “Create and nurture your unique personal brand.  Stand, and be known for something.  Make sure that everything you do is on brand.”

The Entrepreneur Mag article listed 10 well-known brands and what they stand for…

  1. Amazon.com – Get personal
  2. Coca-Cola – Sell happiness
  3. FedEx – Keep your promises
  4. Apple – Keep it cool and fun
  5. Target – Design an experience
  6. Ford – Stay consistent
  7. Nike – Can do attitude
  8. Starbucks – Forge connections
  9. Southwest Airlines – Serve up the quirky
  10. Nordstrom – Focus on the customer

There are no two ways about it.  If you want to create the life and career success you want and deserve, you need to brand yourself.  Your personal brand differentiates you from everyone else in the world.  My brand is “The Common Sense Guy.”  Because of my brand, people know that they can rely on me to provide them with common sense advice that will help them reach their life and career success goals.  They also know that they will get this advice in a straightforward, easy to understand and apply manner, because after all, I’m just a guy.

You need to spend time crafting your brand.  Your brand is the two or three words you want people to associate with you.  Decide what you want these words to be, and then go about making sure that all of the people with whom you come into contact think of you that way.

When my name comes up, I want people to think of two things – “common sense,” and “guy.”  I do everything I can to get people to think of me this way.  My writing is simple, straightforward and to the point.  The career advice I give my career success coach clients is always based on ideas they can put to use immediately – never filled with a lot of theory, even though it is based on the latest life and career success literature and theory.

This is important, because nature abhors a vacuum.  If you don’t brand yourself, others will.  It’s better to be in control of your personal brand by creating it yourself, than it is to let others create it for you.

Here’s a real life example.  I have a very successful friend.  He owns a high-profile and growing advertising agency.  We met when we were both working for a very large Fortune 500 company.  My friend is a fun guy, a big sports fan and very witty.  Somehow his fun personality got him tagged as “immature.”  This is ironic because he is one of the most mature and hard-working people I know.

No matter, his immature brand cost him several promotions at the company where we worked.  Whenever his name came up in promotion discussions, the dreaded “immature” tag came up too.  He finally had to leave that company and begin someplace anew where he could establish a more positive brand.  It worked out well for him, as he is entrepreneurial by nature and is much happier running his own company than he would be working in a very large corporation.

Let this story be a lesson to you.  If you don’t brand yourself, others will – and sometimes the brand with which you’re stuck may not be the brand you want.  Pay attention here.  This is important career advice.

Creating a strong personal brand is simple, conceptually.  Ask and answer these simple questions:  “How do I want people to think of me?”  “What words do I want to people to use to describe me?”

Think about these questions.  Take your time.  Don’t settle for the first answer.  Work to come up with the one answer that truly describes how you want to brand yourself.  Then – and this is very important career advice – do whatever it takes to make sure that other people think of you that way.  In other words, act in a manner that consistently and constantly promotes the brand you’ve chosen for yourself.

For example, if you decide that “hard-working” is a term which you would like others to associate with you, then work hard.  Do your assignments well and on time.  When you finish one task, ask for another.  Come early, stay late.  Ask questions to help you understand the business.  Pretty soon, people will begin thinking of you as a hard worker – “someone who does everything we ask, and then asks for more.”  Once this happens, you’ll know that you’re on your way to creating your own special and unique personal brand as a hard worker.

The important thing is to choose your brand, then consistently and constantly do the things that will build the brand that is uniquely you.  That’s why I blog.  That’s why I write books.  My books are short.  They are not filled with a lot of fluff – in my opinion, fluff and common sense don’t work together.  That’s why Success Tweets is written as a series of tweets – common sense information, presented in a down-to-earth, easily readable manner.  That’s also why I am wrote a series of blog posts explaining each of the 141 career success tweets in Success Tweets.  Common sense says that some people will want more than 140 characters on some of the advice in Success Tweets.

The entrepreneur article also identified what they call “five values” that influence trust in a brand.  I think they are worth repeating here…

  1. Ability – your performance
  2. Concern – care for others (colleagues, customers, the greater community)
  3. Connection – empathy, tuning into the values of others
  4. Consistency – dependability, acting the same no matter what.
  5. Sincerity – openness and honesty.

I think these five values reinforce the points I make about consistency and constancy.  You have constantly promote your brand through a consistent message.

The common sense career success coach point here is simple.  Successful people, like successful companies, develop and nurture their unique personal brand.  They are clear on their purpose and direction in life; commit to taking personal responsibility for their success; are confident and are competent.  Follow the career advice in Tweet 61 in Success Tweets.  “Create and nurture your unique personal brand.  Stand and be known for something.  Make sure that everything you do is on brand.”  There are two steps to building your personal brand: 1) Figure out how you want others to think of you; 2) Consistently and constantly act in a manner that will get them to think this way.

That’s the career advice I took from the Entrepreneur Magazine article on trusted brands.  What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading my daily thoughts on life and career success.  I value you and I appreciate you.

Bud

PS: If you haven’t already done so, please download a free copy of my popular career advice book Success Tweets and its companion piece Success Tweets Explained.  The first gives you 140 bits of career success advice tweet style — in 140 characters or less.  The second is a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to http://budurl.com/STExp to claim your free copy.  You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.

PPS: I opened a membership site last September.  It’s called My Corporate Climb and is devoted to helping people create career success inside large corporations.  You can find out about the membership site by going to http://www.mycorporateclimb.

 

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