Creating a personal brand is like creating a product brand, because you as a person are a product that needs to be developed, marketed and evolved over time. There are very few brands out there that have had the same marketing and communications strategy since their formation, because as brands grow and consumers evolve brands need to evolve as well and update their image to reach consumers.
The personal brand that you are developing for yourself will change as you have new work experience, personal experiences and develop new interests and expertise. Pepsi, for example, has changed their logo, products and messaging constantly in order to meet the needs of consumers and fight back against competition. A person who is marketing themselves as a brand needs to think the same way.
Taking a page from Madison Avenue
As a marketing student, I created the elements my personal brand to align with that of a product brand. I started off as a freshman in college with a very different brand than I have now. As I went through college I became involved in student organizations and grew as a leader. I absorbed new information and corporate cultures through internships. My elevator speech was changing, my skill set was growing and as I learned more about new areas of business my interests were expanding. My personal brand was growing, and when that happens it is important to take a fresh holistic look at yourself and do a re-branding.
When I thought about my personal re-branding I broke apart the elements of a brand from a marketing perspective and applied them to myself. These are some of the major elements of a brand strategy that to take in to account:
Positioning Statement: Who are you? What is your personality? What is your elevator speech?
Product Offering: What experience do you have? What is your expertise? What do you bring to the table?
Brand History: How did you get to where you are? How are your experiences related? How has your history created the person/brand that you are today?
Brand Tonality: What is your tone? How do you come off to others? What vocabulary do you use? How do you want people to relate to you?
Communications Strategy: How are you getting your name out there? Where can others find information about you? How are you sharing information with others?
Taking the next step
Re-positioning your brand may seem like a no-brainer, and in some ways it is. Everyone knows how they have changed, but they don’t always think to take a fresh look at their personal brand from a holistic perspective. Take the time to think all of this out – maybe even write it down. You may be surprised to find that you are in need of a personal re-brand.
David Trahan is currently working at leading social marketing agency Mr Youth in New York, and previously held positions with the Ad Council, Goldman Sachs and others. He is a recent graduate of Pace University where he received many scholarships and awards and is now a mentor in their Alumni Mentor Program. David also serves as a member of the AD Club of New York Young Professionals Steering Committee. Connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter, and on his website.