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Personal Branding: What it Means and Why You Need it

Categories: Personal Marketing

You’re not an entrepreneur, a business owner or a freelancer — you’re a corporate employee. So, do you still need to build your own brand?

That depends entirely on your professional objectives. What are your goals and ambitions? Are you content to simply just "carry on" at your job as-is?

Or, do you actually want to achieve increasingly greater professional success throughout the course of your working career, climb the proverbial corporate ladder, and become known as the expert in your particular field?

If you answered “yes” to the second question, then you do need to build your personal brand.

What is a personal brand? It’s different than a corporate brand: It’s not a logo, a slogan, a marketing campaign, or a specific look that people will know you by. If you are a business owner or entrepreneur, then your company itself might also be your personal brand.

But for corporate employees at any level, their personal brand is a bit different. It consists of the sum total of their reputation -- how they are perceived within their company and industry, and how far and wide they are known inside their own organization and within this industry.

If no one’s ever heard of you, including the top execs at your own firm, you might be an expert, you might be incredibly talented, reliable, and easy to work with, but I’d say you need to do some personal marketing.

Your personal brand consists of what you know, who you know, and who knows you!

Let’s take a closer look, starting with what you know ... I assume that you’re already great at what you do. You are, aren’t you?

I also assume that you’re keeping up with developments in your industry, staying on the leading edge with continuing education, conferences, reading journals, or whatever else is required. This is the bare bones of what you need to do to success professionally in a rapidly changing world.

If not, that’s the place to start. The old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” doesn’t exactly hold true anymore. You might get into a great job because of who you know, but you’ll only ever be able to keep it or move ahead to bigger and better things if “what you know” is really up to snuff. If you want to be perceived as an expert, the first step is to truly become one.

In addition to who you know and what you know, however, there are many other factors that are involved in other peoples’ perception of you, including your personal manner. This includes your grooming, your speech, your choice of clothes, and your ability to focus and really listen to what others are saying — even things like the ability to remember other peoples’ names.

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