• Howard Wolpoff

Personal branding begins as early as pre-school

Personal branding begins as early as pre-school. In nursery school, you may have been “advanced for your age” or “so sweet” or even “The Biter”. In elementary school, you could have been “Teacher’s Pet” or “The Troublemaker”. You may have become “Cheerleader Captain” or “Class Clown” in high school. These were all impression that people had of you when they heard your name. This became part of your initial brand.

As one gets older, those observations change and evolve and you begin to become your true self. Understanding how to brand yourself begins with finding out who you are and determining your personal brand. It's a combination of your interests, beliefs, values, talents and skills, among a number of other characteristics. Just as in school, it is how others see you, but you now have more of a say in the matter. Once you discover and identify your personal brand, you'll be ready to learn how to brand yourself.

Your personal brand is you on the inside as well as the outside. The qualities and characteristics that comprise your personal brand are unmistakable and should be the immediate answers about you when your friends and family are asked to give a description about you. . To help you discover what your personal brand is, you should ask yourself a few key questions…

  • What are my biggest strengths?

  • Where are my passion areas?

  • What makes me unique?

These are the qualities that make you uniquely you and clarify your personal brand. The authentic you.

Next, you need to identify your target market so you can position your talents and skill-set in the best way possible. In this way, you can use your personal brand to land that dream job, close a sale or accomplish a pre-determined goal.

To market your personal brand, you will need to create a Communication Plan.

In this age of social media, there are any numbers of ways you can implement this communication plan. You do not have to be a media mogul, you can be everyman and have an equal opportunity to get your message broadcasted and heard. However, you must keep your focus and a social media schedule so to keep on track with your plan. Profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook will serve you well for business and personal use.

With activity on those platforms, and any website or blog you may also use, your name should appear in online search results. These results also become a part of your marketing of your personal brand and are part of the first impression one makes of you when they search you online. Keep in mind, your online reputation is equally important as your offline reputation, if not moreso.

With your personal brand, target market and communication plan developed, you will need to plan your attack and put your implementation plan into motion

  • Define your overall goals and objectives. Is it a certain position? Is it to be the best ________ you can be?

  • Conduct research.How are those who have made it to where you want to be conducting their personal branding efforts? What can you learn from what others are doing? Who are your biggest competitors and what are they doing to brand themselves?

  • Determine your brand attributes.What do you want your personal brand to convey? What adjectives do you want people to associate with you (as the product) and why?

  • Assess your current state.How do people currently perceive you? How large is the gap between the current you and the person you want others to perceive you to be? What needs to change and why?

  • Create your game plan.Your game plan should include more than just branding yourself in social media – it needs to include all aspects of you, as a product. Defining your plan needs to include the tangible and intangible characteristics of personal branding including attire, hair, makeup, behavior, verbal and non-verbal communication.

  • Manage your brand.Proactively manage all aspects of your brand, ensuring these aspects are in sync and that they continue to reinforce your brand attributes.

Your personal brand is your image and how you portray it to the world. Treat it well and nurture it as it will take you to the heights that you aspire to.

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