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Personal Branding

Personal branding has gone on from being an additional responsibility to one of the top priorities in marketing a business.

Here’s what you need to do to brand yourself effectively:

1. Define your focus.

To succeed as an entrepreneur and as a personal brand, the first task is defining exactly what it is you are going to focus on building. Then, you answer every what, why, how and when in relation to it.

Too many entrepreneurs lack focus, which as we know is the exact trait you must hone if daring to dream of business ownership. For example, if you are forming a startup -- whether it’s the next best line of tech fashion, the newest and greatest app on the market, “the next Facebook,” a standout hipster bakery or the newest solution to collaborative office space -- and want to extend that into cups, mugs, toys, magazines, etc. . . . don’t.

2. Think hard about your personal brand position and then own it.

The focus sets the tone for you to start thinking about your market position as a brand. This means that whatever you commit to as a company, you need to commit to in your own focus as a leader. This is done so that when you lead and take a position on content and commentary around your expertise, it supports what your company represents.

3. Learn to delegate.

One of the things you must do to become a personal brand of influence and truly flourish is learn to delegate. Delegation as an entrepreneur means first finding the right resources, and then allowing them to do their job. To make it big as a personal brand, you neither try to do everything nor be a micromanager. Delegating requires the build and delivery of a system. The system needs to work for you and your business.

4. Know, understand, love and commit to your personal brand style.

Although the way you dress and present yourself is an important facet of branding, there is so much more to it -- primarily how you communicate. This means what language you communicate in, what you can and can’t get away with in terms of your intended audience (humor, fact-driven, intellectual, conversational, etc.). Once defined, your style will become your brand.

Then apply these questions inward: Who do you speak to? What should they expect? Where is your comfort level, and where do you need to expand?

5. Have a marketing plan for your personal brand.

A marketing plan is intended for a business, however, a strategic marketing plan for a personal brand means all the difference when it comes to driving results, not wasting precious time and becoming the thought leader you are investing in as a personal brand.

A marketing plan for a personal brand is all about uncovering your specific strengths, focus, areas of concentration for content -- whether originally created or shared -- and making a commitment to be proactive in creating, monitoring and managing all that it entails.

6. Be yourself, be authentic.

Whatever you do, do not lie about being someone you are not. Your lie may be called out by your competitors, leaving you red-faced. It is best to be consistent and authentic at all times, regardless of who your audience is.

Only by doing so can you make your personal value known with precision and consistency.

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