Friday, July 23, 2010

Stand Out from the Crowd with a Distinct Personal Brand

Stand Out from the Crowd with a Distinct Personal Brand

Whether you are an entrepreneur, job seeker, or candidate for president of your HOA or PTA, you share one commonality: the need to differentiate yourself. In business parlance, this is often referred to as branding. People frequently confuse branding - particularly as it relates to businesses - with logos. While a logo is certainly an aspect of branding, the logo and brand recognition are only a small component of the totality of branding.
Dolly Kennedy is a walking billboard
for the Dolly Steamboat
What branding really means is your public perception. When people think of your business - or of YOU - what's the first thing that comes to mind? It's probably not a logo - but perhaps your tagline or a pesonality trait. Dolly Kennedy - of Dolly Steamboat fame - and self-defense guru Mike Hayashi are Phoenix area businesspeople who have distinct peronal brands. When Dolly walks into any networking event in the Valley clad in her formal Victorian hat, dress, and shoes and says, "Hello, everyone," she immediately receives a robust "Hellllllllloooo, Dolly!" from the crowd. And most people who know Mike will never forget his ubiquitous tagline: A woma's place is in control (accompanied by a nifty martial arts move).

Mike Hayashi, self-defense guru
Why is branding - particularly personal branding - important? Well, how badly do you want to stand out from the 2,000 other people applying for the same job or the 35,000 other REALTORs or financial advisors in your community? A personal brand is a statement about who you are, what you stand for, where your interests lie, and what makes you different.

Ways to Create/Reinforce Your Personal Brand

Résumé - If you don't have one, wrte one - even if you're an entrepreneur and never intend to apply for another job in your life. At some point, you will submit a speaker application, loan application, Who's Whoapplication, and you will nee to list your skills, previous employers, and accomplishments. A résumé is tailor-made for this sort of list.

Personal Statement - Just like the résumé, if you don't have one, write one. This is a one- or two-sentence statement that explains your personal or business vision, mission, and purpose. You must be able to explain to people in a succinct fashion who you are and what you stand for. This is NOT to be mistaken for your 30-second commercial, which everyone should also have prepared. This less about what you DO and more about WHO you are and WHY you do what you do.

Social Media - Most of us are using at least one of the big social networks, and yet the vast majority of people have not fully completed their online profiles. Yes - privacy concerns are real, so be cautious about including your full birthdate and other identifying information - but you will receive a much greater return on your social media investment by providing a full profile.

Thumbnail Picture - Consistency is key in branding, so you might want to think about using the same image across all of your social networks. Seth Godin has some great advice on the Power of a Tiny Picture.

Blog -  Turning to Mr. Godin again, Seth says: "The word blog is irrelevant. What's important is that it is now common - and soon will be expected, that every intelligent person (and quite a few unintelligent ones) will have a media platform where they share what they care about with the world." This is a loaded statement - and one that impels you to blog if you want to stand out from the field. Blog about your industry, things you want to learn, things that interest you. Whatever the topic - be yourself and represent your brand honestly.

Video - As new and popular as blogging once was, video is the new blogging. Flip cameras are inexpensie and easy to operate, so if possible, create a YouTube channel and start adding video to your personal branding portfolio.

It definitely takes some effort, but creating a believable, reputable brand is essential if you want to be noticed in today's overcrowded fields.

This is Day 3 of my participation in the 60-Day Content Challenge. See you again tomorrow!


Sign up today for Laura's next workshop, Want to Charge More? Start Writing! Or e-mail your branding and marketing questions to Laura.


  1. Having a memorable profile picture will help anyone stand out online.

  2. Absolutely, Sarah! All the better if it's got something to do with your business.