The power of personal branding

The power of personal branding

Most entrepreneurs and senior executives completely miss one of the most powerful branding strategies available in today’s market…Creating your own personal brand. Most people in business understand the need to build brand equity at the corporate level or for products, services, intellectual property, etc., but very few understand the substantial benefits that are created by increasing their personal brand equity.

When you read newspapers and periodicals, listen to media interviews on the radio, watch guest appearances on television, and see who is getting invited to speak, you will notice that it is usually the professionals who have positioned themselves as innovators and thought leaders through a carefully managed campaign of personal brand. These people may or may not have more to offer than their peers other than the fact that they knew how to brand themselves as subject matter experts.

Picture a highly successful, high-profile company in your mind, and you’ll likely find that its executives have not only established themselves as leaders in their firms, but are also perceived as heavy industry players and power brokers to the outside world. When a company’s top executives are seen as experts and leaders outside the company, it makes them more valuable to the company. This is a true win-win scenario, as an executive who knows how to manage his brand equity, in turn, increases the enterprise’s brand equity. Because the corporation benefits from executives’ ability to brand themselves, they are willing to pay more for their services and work harder to retain their talent.

Regardless of what you think of the following list of people, you have to agree that they have done a remarkable job of building a personal brand that has often led to the creation of modern empires. Think of Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, Donald Trump, Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Sam Walton, Ted Turner, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and a whole host of others and you’ll quickly see how powerful a personal brand can be. In fact, spend some time looking at the Forbes 400 and you’ll find yourself recognizing far more names than you don’t… Look at a list of Fortune 500 CEOs and you’ll be surprised how many of their names have been turned into powerful personal brands. Look at the lists Inc. 500 or the Entrepreneur Hot 100 and you’ll see a number of strong personal brands in the making.

The reality is that most of us will probably never achieve icon status, nor do most of us really strive for that goal. However, increasing your personal brand equity is good for adding value to your company’s brand, increasing your earning power, and improving your job security and/or marketability. Personal branding is much more than an ego game; it’s smart business. If you don’t know how to create a strong personal brand, the following tips will guide you in the right direction:

1. Make those around you successful. While some personal brands are built at the expense of others or on the backs of others, the most valued personal brands are built on the success they have created for others. Think “selfless” as opposed to “selfish.”

2. Hire a coach or mentor. This is something that many successful people struggle with, as their pride can get in the way of seeking the wisdom and advice of others. However, it is one of the best investments you can make in building a powerful, sustainable and respected personal brand.

3. Invest in Continuing Education: Okay, so you’re already making a mid-six-figure income, running your own (or someone else’s) business, and busy… The sad fact is, it’s a lot easier to reach the C-suite than it is to stay there. You will only stay in the corner office if you continue to hone and develop your skill sets and competencies. Never sacrifice or give up learning because you think you don’t have time or worse, because you think you already know everything.

4. Learn to work with the media or hire someone to do it for you. When it comes to the media, you only have three choices: a.) you can try and stay invisible, but anonymity won’t help you build a brand; b.) you can be a target for the media, and while controversy isn’t always a bad thing, it causes more unnecessary brain damage than you’d like to endure, or; c.) you can be a friend of the media and serve as a subject matter expert who is available as a resource to the media… Although the choice is yours, I would personally recommend option C.

My advice is simple…find a good coach or mentor and start building your personal branding strategy yesterday…you’ll be glad you did.

#power #personal #branding

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