How to Brand and Market Yourself

Richard Branson's personal brand is synonymous with that of Virgin.

Was reading Steve Rubel's post about The Golden Age of Individualism which pointed to this decade old gem by management guru Tom Peters. In Tom's article on the "Brand Called You", he wrote about the need to establish oneself as an authority on the matters which one is passionate about, the importance of influence and visibility, and the need to have BOTH style and substance.

In the age of social media and the democratisation of information, all of us become more important than ever before. I am sure everybody would have read or heard about Time Magazine's Person of the Year : You. Everybody's vote now counts more strongly than ever before in the world of business and commerce.

How does one market oneself? Can we all "Brand it like Beckham"? Well, here are some ideas for a start.

First, establish yourself as an expert or authority on a subject matter. Are you an expert on collecting stamps, a health freak or a marketing maven? If so, look for opportunities to showcase that wisdom by giving talks, writing articles, or publishing books on that area of expertise.

Second, identify and build a community. In the new world of social media, it is as much about who-you-know in addition to what-you-know. Identify like-minded folks and spread your ideas or thoughts amongst them. Don't just be a wallflower!

Third, look for opportunities to learn and deepen your knowledge. Rome wasn't built in a day and so will brand YOU. Find ways to sharpen the saw constantly so that you are on the cutting edge of that area - be it knitting, dog training, cooking or playing football.

Fourth, tell everybody about what you do. Don't be shy! The more people you tell about your expertise and experience, the better. Do it through all available channels of communication - the media, Word Of Mouth, blogs, articles, wikis, publications, emails or just plain coffee shop talk in First Life. Of course, this doesn't mean that you should blow your trumpet repeatedly (which can irk people too), but you should at least be transparent about your triumphs.

Fifth, you need to be unique and different from the rest. As Tom has said, establish your own style and let it exude through every pore. Search deep inside and find out what makes your so special. Do you have a fascinating story to share whom others will be keen to listen? The more unusual your tale the better!

Sixth, and most importantly, persevere. Personal branding is a life-long affair, which follows you from cradle to grave. Our lifelong principles, values, ethics and eccentricities will establish who we are in the eyes of others. Make sure they count not just for today but the longer term.

Finally, check out this slideshare presentation on Brand Madonna. It's pretty neat and encapsulates lessons about personal branding on one of the planet's most recognisable stars.

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