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Do You Have a Personal Brand?

07 Aug 2014 10:08 AM | Anonymous

Our Guest bloggers share with us content based on their APRA Int'l workshop presentation "Building your Personal Brand"

Guest Bloggers: Juli Geske-Peer, Senior Director of Prospect Development, University of Minnesota Foundation; and Bond Lammey, Senior Associate, Bentz Whaley Flessner

Do you know what your personal brand is? Did you even know you have one? Or why it is important? Well, you should know that you do have a brand and it is a critical component in meeting your goals.

We all have brands that precede us, even in arenas where we haven’t yet ventured. Did you choose to read this post based on some image you had in your mind about one or the other of usundefinedsome experience where we have crossed paths, or something you’ve heard about one of us or about the companies where we work? The expectations you have about us as prospect development professionals, as leaders, as blog authors, and the hope that you may learn something valuable, are components of our personal brands.

Personal branding is crafting your personal marketing strategy to create an authentic, consistent, and targeted impression that helps you achieve your goals. Your brand includes the overt elements of brand (resume; business communications; social media platforms in which you participate; articles, blogs, or books you’ve written; and presentations you’ve given) and the covert elements of brand (your actions, appearance, communication style, and presence).

When you want to achieve a promotion, a new job, a new sale, or whatever it is you aim to do, you are asking someone to make a “buying decision” about you. The person is investing in something you have to offer, whether that investment is of time or resources. Most people make these “buying decisions” based on an emotional connection. In some way, the “product” is offering something that will contribute to what the decision-maker aspires to be in terms of lifestyle or success. For instance, if a manager is interviewing candidates for a position, the manager is considering how the candidates will add value to the department, and as the department succeeds, so too does the manager. The wise candidate will have this in mind and help the manager see how the candidate’s brand will help the manager reach his or her goals.

You can see why devoting time to your own branding can be so critical to reaching your goals.

So, how is this done?

During our APRA International Conference 2014 Workshop on Building Your Personal Brand, participants began building their brand by working through a process we outlined. You, too, can follow the process, by considering the items we focused on, including:

  • Map your past and current situations - what are your key career and educational successes and moves, what overt and covert elements created these successes
  • Brainstorm and document the values from which you work (vital in being authentic) and the impressions and accomplishments you would want to create in your targeted arenas
  • Build your brand through visioning, planning your brand elements and message, and determining what is needed to promote yourself
  • Plan your next steps to craft and promote your brand; prioritize these based on urgency and importance by using this Priority Matrix
  • Align both the overt and covert elements of your brand, as when these are out of sync you are at risk for losing credibility
Some people may read this blog and decide, “Whatever; personal branding isn’t for me.”

Remember, your brand occurs whether you build and live it consciously or not.  People have perceptions and expectations of you no matter what you do - or don’t do - to build and live your brand.

We suggest that you craft a brand that you can believe in and live authentically, and one that can help you be successful in reaching your career - or life - goals.

Happy branding!

Bond and Juli

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