Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Brand You: The Power of Personal Branding

This time of year, late July, is always a time of reflection for me.  It precludes autumn, my favorite season, wherein I buy new notebooks and pencils to scratch down resolutions, plans, and goals, taken over by the alluring promise of going-back-to-school, and all the new hope and sincerity that entails.

I was thinking today about my new direction—a self re-branding, and wondering why it made me so uncomfortable.  It seems so myopic, so solipsistic.  But this self-focus is a big part of our culture.  We think a lot about who we are and what we have to contribute.  We measure ourselves and our accomplishments by the achievements of others.  Resumes, business cards, Linked In profiles all collaborate to make us into soundbites of success.

I don't love that, make no mistake.  But, this is who we are, and this is the way the world works—in shorthand.  I've talked about this before.  It's inescapable, so rather than fighting, I'm going to package myself the best I can.

Fast Company has a great article by Tom Peters that's dated (1997!), but it's still prescient.

No matter what you're doing today, there are four things you've got to measure yourself against. First, you've got to be a great teammate and a supportive colleague. Second, you've got to be an exceptional expert at something that has real value. Third, you've got to be a broad-gauged visionary -- a leader, a teacher, a farsighted "imagineer." Fourth, you've got to be a businessperson -- you've got to be obsessed with pragmatic outcomes.

It's this simple: You are a brand. You are in charge of your brand. There is no single path to success. And there is no one right way to create the brand called You. Except this: Start today. Or else.  - The Brand Called You, Tom Peters

I love my day job, but I'd like to take on some consulting projects and freelance work.  No one will ever know what I have to offer unless I market myself.

Nubby Twiglet has one of the better personal branding blog posts about why as a creative person especially needs to do this.
The best part about being in control your own brand is that you are in charge of your destiny. You’re in charge of you. Changes can be implemented rapidly. And, the payoffs for being successful mean more because you’ve built the brand yourself. The success is yours. - The Power of Personal Branding

So, first step: defining what my brand is, then figuring out how to implement that visually, as well as in words.



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