Make us your home page

How to build your personal brand

Your personal brand is a description of yourself, your talents and what you offer — the qualities that make you uniquely distinguishable. Your brand helps to define how you position yourself in the marketplace and how people will perceive you. It's important. It's your reputation. It's worth some of your attention.

Creating your brand

Here are some basic steps to consider when it comes to creating and promoting your personal brand.

Identify what you provide or offer professionally: Before people enter into a relationship, they ask, "What's in it for me?" If you can answer that question by explaining how you add value, you will greatly increase the chances of forming meaningful relationships and building your brand.

List the elements that differentiate you from others: It's all about niche and focus. Talk to your most trusted colleagues, friends and competitors and ask them to identify what makes you stand out.

Determine what you want to convey about your brand and create a communication and marketing plan to promote it.

Be consistent and deliver on your brand promise every time.

The marketing of you

The next step entails spreading the word. There are three specific communication arenas you need to consider.

Old school: This traditional method involves your resume, your references and a portfolio of your work.

Online: Once you have your old-school tools perfected, it's time to move online, which is the best and easiest place to build your personal brand. There are some basic products and outlets to consider when taking your personal brand online. Choose the two or three that work best for you.

Create a profile on LinkedIn ( It's often the first place people go to learn about you.

Put yourself out there and create a blog. A quick tip: Before you begin your blog, write down 50 potential post ideas. If you can come up with 50, you are ready to go. If blogging is new to you, take time to learn the rules and expectations. Blogs are about teaching, learning and sharing information. If your blog comes across as a blatant promotional piece, nobody will read it.

Consider hosting a video blog on YouTube or an audio podcast series on Podcast Alley.

Many chief executives use Twitter and Facebook to promote their personal brands while also connecting with employees and current and potential customers.

Once you have made the jump to online personal branding, remember that consistency is critical. It is best when your name is the same across all online media. See if you can purchase a URL with your name.

In person: Next it's time to focus on you, the person. Your personal style should support your personal brand. The way you dress has an effect on the way you are perceived by others. So does the way you communicate. Consider how you treat people. Examine your interpersonal skills.

You, the person, should be consistent with the brand you convey on paper and online. Your personality and communication style should align with your brand. If you deliver what you promise, good things will happen.

Ken White is executive director of marketing communications at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business.

How to build your personal brand 04/05/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Two new condo projects for same street in downtown St. Pete

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — It lacks the panache and name recognition of Beach Drive, but 4th Avenue N in downtown St. Petersburg is becoming a condo row in its own right.

    Bezu, a condo project planned at 100 4th Ave. N in downtown St. Petersburg, will have 24 units including a three-level penthouse with infinity pool.
[Courtesy of Clear ph Design]
  2. AAA expects gas prices in Tampa Bay will continue to fall


    Ticking slowly and steadily, regular gas prices have receded for the last 10 consecutive days. The average unleaded gas price in Florida is $2.67 this morning, a nickel cheaper than a week ago. In Tampa Bay, the current average unleaded gas has dropped 7 cents from a week ago to $2.62. The national average for regular …

    Gas prices for regular gas continue to decline. In Tampa Bay, the current average unleaded gas is down 7 cents from a week ago at $2.62 a gallon. [Times file photo]
  3. Kiran and Pallavi Patel commit $200 million for Clearwater medical school

    Real Estate

    CLEARWATER — Tampa Bay philanthropists Dr. Kiran Patel and his wife, Dr. Pallavi Patel are spending $200 million to create and promote a Tampa Bay regional campus for the private Nova Southeastern University.

    Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel, prolific Tampa Bay philanthropists, are putting up $200 million to create and run a new medical school under Nova Southeastern University. Here is a rendering of the proposed campus [Courtesy of Southestern Noval University}
  4. USF to rename sports management program for Vinik family


    The University of South Florida will name a business program for the Vinik family at a Tuesday event.

    Tampa Bay Lightning owner and chairman Jeff Vinik and his wife, Penny, in 2010.
  5. Tonight: Hear ideas for remaking downtown Tampa interchange


    TAMPA — New concepts for rebuilding the downtown interchange will be discussed at a Florida Department of Transportation community meeting Monday night.

    The Florida Department of Transportation renamed its controversial Tampa Bay Express plan, also known as TBX. The plan is now known as Tampa Bay Next, or TBN. [Florida Department of Transportation]