This idea of the Web driving a new age of personal branding may have been expressed first by management guru Tom Peters in an article in Fast Magazine in 1997. Everyone needs to be “the CEO of Me, Inc.,” he argued. In Peters’ words, “branding means nothing more (and nothing less) than creating a distinct personality…and telling the world about it.”
Web sites create the potential for your brand to have unprecedented reach. The branding communicated through your Web site will help drive your word-of-mouth campaign, and consistent branding will help get your emails opened, read and acted upon. Meanwhile blogs have become the Web tool du jour for personal branding among certain segments—particularly writers and technical professionals.
But another critical aspect of “brand building” for small firms and solo practitioners is the old standby: growing your network. A crisply defined brand should make that process simpler—who you are and what you do will be easier to remember if you have done your brand homework—but it still requires getting your brand in front of people the old-fashioned way, one handshake at a time.
Arruda lists three tips for making the most of your personal brand to build your business, or to enhance or reinforce your value within your corporation:
• Make sure that everything that surrounds your brand (your office, Web site, customer service organization, etc.) communicates the same brand message.
• Build and nurture your professional network and ensure that all members understand your brand message.
• Establish appropriate partnerships to extend your brand and gain complementary brand value.
A personal brand may be a valuable tool to define and refine what you do and how you tell your customers or your employers about it.