Developing Your Own Brand

By Catherine Lang-Cline

Businesses can be very savvy when it comes to branding themselves. They spend lots of money to develop a winning name, logo, website and platform that identifies and defines them. But what about individuals? Do they brand themselves with the same forethought and care? Increasingly the answer is yes.

Consider some people who have a crystal clear brand image. What might you expect if you met Sir Richard Brandon, for example? A big smile, an ebullient personality and a waterfall of ideas about new technology perhaps. These are things Branson is known for. Now imagine what working with Oprah Winfrey would be like. Are you picturing a sense of groundedness, group discussion and a lot of women? Oprah has made collaboration, discovery and female empowerment her trademarks.

Building a personal brand like Sir Richard and Oprah is intentional. They decided long ago what they would stand for, speak about and how they would be perceived by others. The great thing is that you do not have to be a billionaire celebrity to take charge of your own image the same exact way.

When people think of you, what do they see? What can they expect from you? Are you experienced, reliable, or perhaps a rogue genius? Do you believe in entrepreneurship, equal rights, or making sure that the world can find the best pizza? Dig deep then start getting involved.

You can be a speaker or panelist at an event in which you share your experiences. Trust me, your experiences will always connect with people. Don’t want to speak up? You can write. Then refine what you stand for. It could be great design with high standards, it could be always helping the newbies, it could be that you are the go-to person for great ideas. You could be known for your overall excellence. Sharing your message helps you refine it even further and develop additional expertise.

If you take these steps, you have more to talk about and people start to talk about you. People will want to be affiliated with you and work with you because they stand for the same things you do. A strong personal brand will open doors you didn’t even know were closed.

Take charge of your personal brand. Give some thought to what you’re most passionate about and then nurture and develop those qualities. “Hey, I’ve heard about you and I hear that you are awesome,” is a great way to start a business conversation.