Personal Branding Weekly

Editor’s Note:  Thank you to Oscar Del Santo for his tremendous contribution as a weekly columnist here at the Personal Branding Blog.  In addition to wonderful insights on personal branding, Oscar delivered a unique perspective on personal branding in another culture and being able to express that across country lines.  Oscar was also instrumental in making sure that the author team stayed ever connected on the Twitterverse.  He was also ever sure to share updates with his book, presentations and kept creating conversations in and with our community of authors.  We will miss you Oscar! Thank you for all the value that you provided the Personal Branding Blog.

This week we talked about your brand and relocation; how paranoia regarding your brand was a good thing and the importance of asking questions.  Here’s what we covered:

This next week we would like to wish you the happiest of holidays and a great start to the New Year! We will cover focusing on the exceptional, the higher points of a ‘thank you’ note that can make or break how someone ‘feels’ about your brand, and the importance of being slow in your email responses.

We look forward to your comments!

Visible Word of Mouth 

I understand the importance of visibility.  As a small business owner, being “known” can be the difference between a steady flow of revenue or closing your doors.  Yet, being visible is not enough. Being remembered is most important and means you occupy some prime real estate in the mind of someone.  Garnering “share of mind” means that somewhere along the way they sampled your character and competence, and you became memorable.

Marketing, by definition, is creating an exchange environment.  For an individual, that could mean exchanging a referral, speaking positively on your behalf, a promotion, or an introduction.  Branding, by definition, is an emotion or image tied to a product.  YOU are the product.  Even in businesses, people are the brand and define the company more than any mere mission statement hanging in the lobby.  So, how does an individual create “buzz” for their brand for visibility and, more importantly, to be remembered so that they can develop credibility?

1. Know what makes you unique.

Whether you’re job hunting or wanting a position on the Board of Directors, you need to confidently know what value you bring to the table.

2. Get really good at communicating what makes you valuable.

Ninety-three percent of communication is tone and body language.  Spend time on the words so that what you say and how you communicate are congruent with your values.  Understand that communication includes your image, the way you present yourself, your workspace, your phone skills, and even your lunch meeting etiquette.  They must all be congruent with what makes you valuable.  Any discrepancies will jeopardize your credibility and could produce negative word-of-mouth which is a problem that I will address in future articles.

3. Manage that communication.

If you’re creating “buzz” around your brand, it will require you proactively managing the communication.  For example, if you’re new to a company or a position, you will need to build a credibility wall.  Yes, a physical wall, if possible.  It showcases every plaque, certificate, service honor, licensing, certification, and degree you’ve received.  This wall is your visual third-party testimonial on the character and competence of your brand.  Since that wall cannot travel with you, make sure that anytime you’re honored for volunteer service or recognized for a contribution, that a copy of the “thank you” letter, note, or card be placed into your personnel file.

Even if you’re on your own, these “proof of credibility” tools will take you far.  As the vice president of a business fraternity in college, I booked speakers to speak to our fraternity for professional development. I asked each of them to write a letter for me about their experience working with me so that I could include that in my personal portfolio.  Many of these speakers went on to become regional directors, chief operations officers, chief financial officers, company presidents and beyond. My portfolio has become quite valuable.

Actively “buzz” your brand!  [tweet this].

Doing that will develop credibility; credibility will lead to influence, and influence will lead to profitability (in currency and referrals).


Maria Elena Duron, is managing editor of the Personal Branding Blog, CEO (chief engagement officer) of – a word of mouth marketing firm. She helps create conversation, connection, credibility, community and commerce around your brand. Maria Duron is co-founder  and moderator of #brandchat – a weekly Twitter chat focused on every aspect of branding that is recognized by Mashable as one the 15 Essential Twitter Chats for Social Media Marketers.