What’s Your Brand?

Americans are known to love wearing and buying big name brands. My guess is that we buy brands in order to feel or look a certain way. Try this. I will name two brands in the same category. Think about the first thing that comes to mind for each of them:

Bebe vs. Gap
BMW vs. Toyota
Panera vs. McDonald’s
Pepsi vs. Coca Cola
Mary Kay vs. Mac

Kind of weird where your mind goes, eh? If you really think about it, the products put out by these competing brands are almost identical. Yet marketers know how to make us view their brands in a more favorable light.

What is YOUR brand suggesting to others? If you want to pump up your career, I highly suggest you get your personal brand in order. What image, purpose and message are you sending to others around you? If I were to google you right now, what impression would I get? If I was a stranger walking into your office today, what type of person would I see?

We’ve all heard the term “first impressions are lasting impressions.” Think about what your handshake, clothing, tone of voice, and non-verbal communication suggests to those around you. It is said that 55% of the message you are trying to verbally communicate is derived from your non-verbal communication.

If you could pick three words that would describe your brand, what would they be? Make sure the words are clear and easy to understand. From here, focus on being consistent with your efforts to project this brand.

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Building a strong personal brand will require promoting yourself. Don’t be afraid! I promise you don’t have to be that annoying person who only talks about herself. Instead, get your name and specialty out and do it frequently.

Here are a few actions you can take to strengthen your personal brand:
• Write a blog about your passion or specialty.
• Comment on other blogs.
• Make small talk with people and exchange business cards.
• Contact someone that inspires you and compliment his or her work. They may love to talk to you and give you some pointers.
• Observe successful people who are where you want to be and follow their lead.
• Write an article for your local newspaper or for a website in your field.
• Join a group you are passionate about.

• Join Twitter-and respond to your follower’s tweets daily!
• Have your elevator pitch mastered. (More on this topic coming soon!)

And of course, remember to smile and project confidence every day!

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