Author of "Your Journey from Fired to Hired"
Career Advice

Does your Personal Brand include these 8 KEY Elements?

I’m a fan of continual learning and self-improvement.  In fact, one of my favorite quotes is “if you aren’t growing, you’re dying.”

Perhaps it’s the farmer in me, but I love the analogy of our personal and professional lives to that of nature.  Think of it like this:  The minute you stop working to improve yourself, your success will start to fade.

And while you may be doing a lot of things right, my guess is that you haven’t paid close enough attention to your personal brand.

Admittedly, there are many different ingredients in the recipe to find success, but giving focus to your personal brand can take your career from “blue plate special” status to culinary masterpiece!

With any recipe, following the steps is only part of creating a culinary masterpiece.  It’s also critical that you have the proper ingredients.  And your brand is no different.

Note:  This blog is the second in a two-part series.  Part One, “Six Easy Steps to Success with Personal Branding” published as a guest post on Aha!Now earlier this month.  While the earlier post explained how to create your Personal Brand, this article focuses on the “Key Elements” that should be included in your brand.

1.  Be Authentic. Don’t profess to be something you aren’t.  Simply identify the outstanding skills that make you unique and then build your brand around them.

If given a choice between working with an original artist or someone that does reproductions, it’s likely you would choose the artist that could give you something truly special.  And your target is no different.

2.  Define core values. Every successful brand accurately and concisely shares their core values and you should plan to do the same.

The core values of your brand can include things ranging from your reliability, knowledge, innovation and even product quality.   In essence, you could summarize the concept of core values by thinking of what one word you want people to use when they think of you.

3.  Develop Expertise. Without some sort of topical authority, your brand will likely falter.  Sure you may find success by being the quickest or the cheapest…but most truly successful brands are judged by greater indicators than these.

Your goal is to develop a persona that is respected and trusted by those who chose to work with you.  Every highly successful brand has something where they claim expertise.  For H & R Block, it’s tax prep.  For Nike, it’s sports supremacy.

Define your area of expertise and then stick to it.  While you may grow and branch out into related areas, you should remain vested in the field of your expertise.

4.  Be Consistent. Much like you hesitate to purchase a brand you don’t trust, others will hesitate to buy “you” if they sense inconsistencies.

Once you have crafted your brand and “Compelling Statement,” it’s important you maintain messaging and content that fits your brand.   For example, if you proclaim an “environmentally friendly” approach to your target, you shouldn’t endorse a hot new product that harms the environment.

Also, if you have a visibility on-line (which you should), make sure that your on-line image matches your daily actions.

5.  Be visible. It’s absolutely critical that your brand be visible to others.  Without an element of visibility, your brand will quickly stagnate and never achieve the desired state of brand presence.

If you plan to promote your brand digitally share lots of pictures and even video if possible.  Or for those engaged in remote work or school activities, use digital technology for meetings to help maintain a physical presence.

PS- if you have the luxury of working in a physical side by side environment, this should be an easy one for you!

6.  Network to promote your brand. Whether you are an entrepreneur, happily employed or presently in the job market, plan to network and share your brand persona.

Once you develop your “Compelling Statement,” you will find it much more comfortable (not to mention beneficial) to participate in various networking events.

But remember your goal here is to be interested rather than interesting.  That is that others will enjoy the conversation more and likely remember your brand, if they feel that you valued their thoughts and input.

So while sharing your brand is a part of the conversation, it should not consume the discussion.  Rather, use this opportunity to learn about others.

You will have plenty of opportunity downstream to discuss possible joint interests.

7.  Dress the Part. While many may argue that clothing is not a judge of ones abilities, your wardrobe has great impact on your brand.

Now I’m not suggesting that you need to wear a 3-piece suit every day.  In fact, the opposite may be true.  Instead, you want to dress appropriate with your brand.

For example, if your brand involves analytical thinking, perhaps you want to assume a scholarly appearance.  Of if you are focused on a conservative target, then you may want to dress in that manner.

Regardless, think of yourself as an actor playing the part of your brand and dress the part.

8.  Be Professional. While your industry will define the degree of professionalism required, your brand should meet and exceed those standards.

If you are in an office environment, this may include how you communicate differences of opinion.  And if you are an entrepreneur, then perhaps this element touches how you respond to negative feedback.

Regardless, all successful corporate brands know and respect the importance of handling sensitive issues with respect and professionalism.

 

While the recipe may feel a bit complicated, following the right steps and using the correct key ingredients will help you create a brand that folks will rave over!!  And raving fans spell increased success for you!

Speaking of raving fans and success, have you checked out my new book?   If you (or one of your loved ones) been fired or laid off from a job, be sure to check out, “Your Journey from Fired to Hired.”

I’d love to hear from you.  What branding successes or struggles have you experienced?

Article written by:

Kathi Miller-Miller is a sought after career specialist and author of “Your Journey from Fired to Hired.” Kathi draws on her 25+ years of success (and failures!) to offer her readers advice on topics ranging from dealing with a boss that drives you crazy to managing millennials...all in a light-hearted and easy to read style.

Join the discussion

  1. Harleena Singh

    Hi Kathi,

    So good to read the follow up post of your guest post on my blog. First, I must thank you for that wonderful post, which struck a chord with my blog audience.

    I personally never gave any thought to personal branding earlier in my blogging career. It was on the third anniversary of my blog that I decided to create a brand for my blog and refine or fine tune my own personal branding.

    I agree with all the elements that you mentioned in this post and they are all vital to your brand creation. Being special and unique is what makes you stand out from a crowd. And if you really deliver what you're expected to, you gain all the appreciation and advantage.

    I think the most difficult part is being consistent. And you really have to be very careful while expressing yourself online. But I just like to be myself, and that's what makes me different that I don't try to be sophisticated or pricey.

    I feel that brand by default depends on the aspect of popularity. The more people see or life it, the more other people are likely to get attracted towards it. So, visibility and promotion are essential for creating a personal brand.

    As you rightly mentioned, being professional is about meeting and exceeding your standards. I guess you need to create the recipe to your own taste, and probably you may add more ingredients to it, but these do remain the essential ones.

    Thank you sharing this with us, the making of personal branding is much clearer than before. 🙂

    Guest
    • Kathi Miller-Miller

      Harleena,

      Greetings and welcome to Kathi Miller-Miller! I have been thrilled with the feedback from my guest post on Aha!NOW and am so glad that the topic was timely for the community! As we discussed during the planning stages, it was important to me to provide unique content that I felt would provide value to your special group and I'm glad that we hit the mark!

      I appreciate your honesty regarding the delay in establishing your personal brand. And you are certainly not alone. Truth be told, had it not been for my Marketing experience and background, I may not be chasing the concept as early in my blog experience as I am.

      I couldn't agree more with you that consistency is difficult. So often I will see an article/image that I want to share with my community but have to intentionally stop myself. While message consistency can feel "boring" to us, it's really expected by our followers. I once read an interesting article by Guy Kawasaki where he discussed this topic. He shared that given his immense success he can get by with a "few" liberties now, but he works diligently to make them rare exceptions. Since, I'm no where close to his mega-star status, I guess I will just remain boring and consistent for now. 🙂

      Love the analogy to the recipe in your comments and yes, each cook should certainly add their own flair and secret ingredients!

      Thanks for checking out the follow up post and again, eternally grateful for the guest post opportunity!

      Administrator
  2. Kerry

    These are great points. I have first worked hard to define who I am online, then I knew I had to become visible and to speak up for what I want to say because if I don't then nobody would do it for me. I am now working to produce quality writing and to remain consistent in what I want to say. I work hard to network with others. I am lucky to have started my own brand at a time, now, when I could learn so much about this stuff before going forward. I have had the last several months to think about what I wanted to represent. I started with a blog that, I admit, hadn't zeroed in specifically on what I wanted. I knew I wanted to write so I wrote fiction, memoir, interviews, reviews, and travel articles. Than I started singling in on what it is I really am passionate about and this brought me to my developing travel website. I gave it a lot of thought first and came up with the perfect URL and tag line, The Insightful Wanderer: Painting Pictures With Words. I want to write about travel and the world. I hope to do it in a genuine way and I wanted to provide insights on these things that only I could bring from my own unique perspective. I like your tip about making it about other people though. I also include interviews and guest posts from other travellers because I want to learn about the travel experiences other people have had. I enjoy finding out about other people and believe I am able to ask the right questions. I like to read confirmations like yours here, that basically let me know I am on the right track, but I try not to follow what other people are doing, as tempting as it is. I have always traveled my own path and done things my own way and I hope this will continue to steer me in the best direction for me. Well-written articles like yours here are simply icing on the cake. I appreciate your expertise.

    Guest
    • Kathi Miller-Miller

      Kerry,

      Welcome to Kathi Miller-Miller and thanks for making the transition from Aha!NOW. It sounds like both your entrepreneurial and branding journey are progressing nicely! You show great insight in taking the time early in your brand to define your passion. So many folks develop several different niches early in their efforts and then spend a great deal of time to either unravel them or meld them together. While it can be accomplished, it can be a frustrating experience.

      I admire your desire to travel your own path on this. Stay true to your passion and individuality. They are after all, things that will make your brand and the experience of your followers unique! I like that you integrate a mixture of mediums (interviews/photos/blogs) to give your readers an experience on several different levels. You don't mention video and given your subject matter that could be really interesting. Also, not sure if you've considered it, but you could add photography tips, packing tips etc. If this is something you are interested in, it could be a great networking outlet for you as you could invite guest bloggers to host on your site and would then have an opportunity for exposure to their communities.

      Enjoy your journey and many wishes for continued success!

      PS-I love that you've worked from the beginning to integrate the ever important visual aspect.

      Administrator
  3. eebest8 eebest8

    Great blog. Will read on...
    eebest8 johh

    Guest
Comments are now closed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
x