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By Lorrie Thomas Ross |

Building Your Personal Brand in 2014

Build your personal brand in 2014

Branding is not just for organizations. For individuals, personal branding is about managing the way you want to be perceived. A personal brand is the sum of all experiences that people have when they engage with you. In today’s web-driven world, the personal brand experience goes well beyond live interactions.

Just like products and services need differentiation to help set them apart, people need to think about how to position their experience and expertise so they put their best professional foot forward.

In my Personal Branding Basics course, I cover three main components to managing a personal brand:

• Authority: Authorities are perceived as having more power to influence the thoughts, behaviors, and opinions of others. This perceived authority is a result of personal branding. One of the easiest ways to establish authority as an expert in your field is to author and publish your own content online. (Note that the word author is in the word authority.)

• Online identity: Online identity gives visibility to your authority status. If nobody knows about you, what’s the point, right? Since 90 percent of people use search engines for products, services, and information, you need to take every opportunity to improve your online visibility and elevate your own personal brand.

• Personal style: Style goes beyond design. Organizations can exhibit style through things like logos and marketing collateral. For personal branding, style may not require you to have your own logo, but it may include the image you present online as well as offline—like your appearance and communications.

The key to effective brand management is consistency. In my Brand Building Basics course on lynda.com, I share simple ways you can evaluate consistency:

• Critically assess your brand. Give your personal brand an audit. See where you want to go, what may be missing, or which of your current content needs fixing. Look carefully at what your social media efforts (or lack of them) could be saying about you.

• Optimize your brand. After assessing what needs to get done, take steps to add or fix your brand as needed. Be truthful about what you can and can’t handle. Delete any social media platforms that you don’t use and focus your efforts on optimizing the ones you do.

• Build new channels. New brand channels can include adding a tagline to reinforce brand promise.

As you work to improve your personal brand and put the pieces of your brand puzzle together, make sure your brand message is crystal clear about who you are, what you do, and whom you serve. Marketing is a journey, not a destination. Making small steps over time can compound to make a big difference for your personal brand.

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