The How and Why of Personal Branding

Yesterday I wrote about my experience rebranding myself though my persistant name changes. I have promised a post today on how and why you would want to rebrand yourself.

What is a personal brand?

Companies brand to communicate a message. The brand for a company is the outward display of the message. For a person, what you display on the outside creates a perception of what you are on the inside. That outside could be clothes, mannerisms, skills, names or even a personal logo or business card.

“Your personal brand is the essence of you,” says Kathi Crawford of People Possibilities. It is putting on the outside what is the true person on the inside. When you “rebrand” you are displaying a more improved you.

Most likely you’ve been approaching this new you for a while. Now you should show it to the world.

Brand yourself to convey the right message.

Branding is “your total perceived value, relative to competitors, as viewed by your audience,” writes Crawford. Your relative perceived value is already solid in the mind of your audience – employers, colleagues, friends, clients. But is it the right one?

In the newspaper clipping above, I was branded as a reader. I wasn’t a reader, I just liked looking at the pictures. At five years old, we are just beginning to develop our brand (by learning and growing). By 10 years old, your brand with your teachers and peers is set. That brand is often called a label – are you the good kid, the smart kid, the bad kid or the comedian of the class? As 10 year olds, there is little we can do about our brand. But at 20 and as we grow into more mature adulthood, taking charge of your own branding is essential.

Rebranding yourself is a challenge.

Yesterday I promised a how-to on rebranding. In researching this, I found that creating a brand is more than a one-blog-post-task for an idea girl. Instead I offer resources to help you get closer to your brand.

In trying to display your perceived value, there are online tutorials and face to face courses you can take. Get your feet wet with the first and when you are ready, make the supreme commitment to form your brand with the second.

Getting with a career coach, a life coach or even doing some personal examination will also help you identify your total value and how to convey it. If you find you do need a name change to properly convey your value, you can contact a good attorney or just morph the name you have. If you need a new image to match your real brand, an image consultant might be a good idea.

Know that close friends and relatives might reject your rebranding.

I have the outward situation of people rejecting requested name changes. Some close family members or friend might reject a less obvious rebrand. You might be making a career change such as going back to school or starting your own business. They will outwardly be supportive, but watch out for snide digs. If you rebrand, keep your true supporters close until the negative Nellies can warm to the new you.

Conclusion!

If you don’t work to brand yourself, someone will supply you with a brand. You might end up being someone’s fisherman or the expert in a field of little interest to you if you don’t put out your own brand. Figure out your value and make sure the right people are perceiving it!

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6 Responses to The How and Why of Personal Branding
  1. Sarah Shah
    September 22, 2010 | 8:41 am

    Bon, thanks so much for including me in your blog post!! You are so right, if you don’t take control of you brand, someone else will decide what it is. Rock on!! – Sarah

    • Idearella
      September 22, 2010 | 9:09 am

      Thanks for sharing your brilliance, Sarah, so that I can link to you!

      I’m still wearing what I want and being branded for who I really am. Today I’m in a green blazer – sleeves rolled – bright yellow shirt, gray pants and purple socks. I’m me on the outside because of you. Thanks again!

  2. Kathi Crawford
    September 22, 2010 | 6:02 pm

    Bon, thank you for including me in your post. As you know, I am passionate about personal branding and employment branding and assist individuals and companies to discover their true essence!!

    Another resource for those who are interested is the personal branding group on LinkedIn, initiated by Dan Schwabel. I would suggest joining this group for those who want to learn more. Dan wrote a book called “Me 2.0″ which is the latest approach in personal branding for career success. His story provides a great example of personal branding as well.

    • Idearella
      October 4, 2010 | 2:54 pm

      Thanks for the info, Kathi. The simple title of Schwabel’s book makes me really want to look into it.

  3. Dan Schawbel
    September 26, 2010 | 10:58 am

    Re-branding can be tough if you’ve have the same brand for a long time. The good news is that you can easily change your web presence to reflect your new brand by editing your information on social network profiles, and changing your picture and logo.

    • Idearella
      October 4, 2010 | 2:57 pm

      Thanks, Dan!

      It seems it is much easier to rebrand now than when I was 5 or 15. My old high school buddies on Facebook take better to Bon Crowder now that I post to them often with that moniker.

      I’m excited about your book. With Kathi’s recommendation, I’m certainly going to check it out soon. (Is it on audible.com, yet?)

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