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Monday, January 14, 2013

What is personal branding?

Dating back to 2700 BCE, branding referred to the process of making a distinctive, permanent ownership mark on an animal (by way of a hot iron) for the purpose of dentification. This process was used to deter theft and to find lost or stolen animals. To be effective, a good livestock brand was and still is one that is distinctive, simple, and readily recognized.
Much like livestock branding, a goal of branding in business is to create a brand that is distinctive and can be easily identified and recognized by others. Of course, modern branding for business has expanded beyond its livestock origins. Today, business branding is essential to achieve business success and growth.
According to advertising executive David Ogilvy, “The Father of Branding”, business branding is The intangible sum of a product’s attributes: its name, packaging, and price, its history, its reputation, and the way it is advertised…Successful advertising for any product is based on information about its consumer.
Business branding is also…
“…the process of creating a unique, positive, and recognizable identity for a product or service” 
“…a promise of the value of a product…that the product is better than all the competing products…
The combination of tangible and intangible characteristics that make a brand unique” 
“…the process by which a commodity in the marketplace is known primarily for the image it projects
rather than any actual quality”
“…a value or core set of values that allow your offer to be identified in the marketplace” 
“…the actions of gaining a favored view on the part of consumers for a product, service, organization,
or experience”.
In business branding, organizations market themselves to customers and investors through self-promotional materials and corporate identity pieces. In personal branding, you present yourself to the prospective employers in your field with marketing materials (your CV, cover letter, web resume or online career portfolio, thank you letters, letterhead, business cards, and/or other promotional materials) that define your competitive edge in your industry through content and presentation.
Personal branding will help you to develop your niche in your market, build name recognition, and set you
apart from other job seekers. Just as business branding is essential to achieve business success and growth,
personal branding is critical to catapult and manage your career.

There is no one definition for personal branding.
Personal branding is an essential career and reputation management marketing tool that creates a successful,
credible identity so that hiring managers who view your brand know your value proposition and your return on their investment and seek you out.
Personal branding is also…
“…the process whereby people and their careers are marked as brands. The concept suggests that success
comes from self-packaging” 
“…a revolution in career management and an essential tool for thinking in the new world of work…
being your best, authentic self and standing out from your peers so you can achieve your goals. What
makes you unique makes you successful” 
“…the art of articulating and communicating your skills, personality, and values so that others seek
you to help them solve a problem”
“…the embodiment of your values, vision, purpose, goals, and passions…to enhance and enrich your
career success. The message you communicate in speech, writing, online presence, and appearance.
Your fingerprint, your DNA. No one else has it or can successfully imitate it”
“…the process by which individuals…differentiate themselves…by identifying and articulating their
unique value proposition…and then leveraging it across platforms with a consistent message and
image to…enhance their recognition as experts in their field, establish reputation and credibility,
advance their careers, and build self-confidence” 
As Tom Peters puts it, “We are CEOs of our own companies:
Me, Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is
to be head marketer for the brand called You.”
Personal branding is essential to achieve career success and
personal growth. Because it is a relatively new concept, people struggle to identify with it and therefore have difficulty applying this concept to themselves.
There are two reasons for this difficulty. One, people are
reluctant to think of themselves as a product with features and benefits. Two, many people are not used to
comparing themselves to others in terms of what they do better than the next person. As a result, people tend
to underestimate what they are worth.
Whether you are consciously aware of it or not, you already
have a brand—it is your authentic, unique self. By defining
and developing it in writing, including it in your cover letter,
backing it up in your resume through achievements, presenting it online, and managing it, you convey your brand—your perceived value—to others. A well-defined brand is sought after and brings opportunities your way.

Personal branding can do several things for you:
✔ Your cover letter and resume, if branded properly, will instantly and significantly help you stand out from the crowd.
✔ Your cover letter will invite readers in and make them want to read your resume and call you in for an interview.
✔ Having a personal brand will help you sell yourself to prospective employers and increase your earning
✔ Employers will immediately know what position you are seeking and what distinguishes you from the competition.
✔ Personal branding will help make you known in your industry. It helps to establish you as an expert in your own professional niche and build a solid reputation in your field.
✔ If done correctly, branding will compel employers to seek you out! When you brand yourself, you make it clear to employers that you can help them solve their problems, meet their challenges, increase their bottom line, or otherwise contribute to their firm in a way no one else can or will.
✔ You will get many more calls for interviews, take less time to secure a position, and have a much higher probability of receiving the position and salary you want. Applying your personal brand during an interview and subsequent job offer helps you negotiate a higher salary because it emphasizes the
value of what you have to offer.

The ultimate benefit of personal branding is that once you know your own unique brand inside and out, it
is a revelation that empowers you with confidence to go ahead and fulfill your goals!

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