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PERSONAL BRANDING

Pix at EA RadioI was on East Africa Radio to talk about Personal branding on the breakfast show. It was fun.

Special thanks to all those who listened and joined in the discussion via Facebook and Twitter. We succeeded in defining branding in a way that connected with the people. It is the process of developing a product or self to have a meaning that connects with your audience. We said that a brand is what people say about you when you are not there, or when you have left the room. It is the ‘You’ that people connect with.

It is a process that starts with you discovering what you can do with ease and better than others as well as your Point of Difference, and developing it to have ‘a meaning’. If properly done, this process can help you stand you out as an expert in your field or career.

We said a great brand must have some basic qualities. They must be authentic, distinctive, compelling and excellent. This means that you must consciously work on yourself to become a brand. Having developed a brand for yourself, you now need to market it. This is where the ‘work’ is. You need to be able to craft a message that captures you and what you are to be known for (brand). Then you will need media to communicate the message. Finally, you need to be in touch with your audience.

Do you have a message about yourself? If yes, how do you currently communicate the message? Don’t tell me you don’t have money to buy media. There are so many free media around you. Think of ‘word of mouth’, your network of friends, colleagues and associates etc. What of social networks? It is free to get an account on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin etc. Do you even have a business card?

Your choice of media will depend on your message and your audience. We buy into media and fail to use them properly and profitably. I think it is because we do not have a clear and compelling message. In some cases, we do have a message but it is not delivered in a consistent way across media. Don’t forget, you brand yourself through practically everything you do – the way you look, talk, act, write etc. We are now in the era of Education Based Marketing where you are known and appreciated for the contributions you make on your blog, Facebook, Twitter etc. What the branding process does for us is to help us understand and channel our efforts to leverage our Point of Difference to create and sustain value.

Can there be a conflict between Personal Branding and Company Branding? Yes, but it is just like anything that is not properly managed. They should complement each other. Great companies employ great employees. It really pays to brand yourself. Personal branding will increase your appeal to employers. And if you own the business, your personality should come through in the culture of the company such that you and the company is one and the same.

And just to recap – a brand is a meaning. Personal branding is about you, your brand and your career. It is a process that we need to go through consciously. If done properly, it can help you stand out as an expert in your field and you can make a living of it. Once you have discovered what you do well that connects positively with others, try and develop a message to capture it. This message is what you take to the market place through word of mouth, your network of friends, colleagues etc and social networks like Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn etc. The way you organize your website and other social network pages / groups and the content / frequency of your post must align with the meaning you have given people about yourself as a brand. Remember, a brand is what they say about you when you have left the room..

Finally, stay in touch with your audience and keep seeking for ways to improve your ‘meaning’ and the tangible ways you communicate with you audience. I will be glad to read your comments.

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