Branding 101

Branding is something that has always intrigued me. It’s a mystery how some things catch on, while others just flounder. A solid brand makes a product or marketable, relatable, recognizable and memorable. Why wouldn’t a person want to be these things also? In a world where your personality shines as bright as your technical skills, it is important to set yourself apart from the pack by capitalizing on your skills and showcasing them to others in a positive way.

Branding is a topic I hope to explore more thoroughly throughout my studies, career, and this blog. Some questions I have raised to myself are: What makes some brands more successful than others? What changes can be made to alter an existing brand’s image? How do certain decisions affect a brand’s reputation? How do I brand myself?

This last question requires some internal reflection and searching for what you want out of life. It is possible to start building yourself up now to be marketable in the future. One of my friends recently used my blog as a prime example of personal branding in a project group for our Scholars group and it made think about what it means to be a brand, how one should begin to develop their own, and how I can improve mine.

Here a few pointers I would give to people who want to start building their personal brand:

  1. Get to know yourself. Make some goals and figure out a plan for how you are going to achieve those goals. Giving yourself some direction will enable you to determine what kind of brand you are going to build. It needs a foundation.
  2. This website is one way I have branded myself. I created a logo using Adobe Illustrator that was reflective of my personality. I write content relevant to my life and my career aspirations and post examples of my work to highlight what I am capable of doing. If this is somewhat in your career path, it may be a good idea to start gaining an online presence.
  3. Social media. Don’t be that person who is tweeting inappropriate things all the time. If that’s what you want Twitter for, make your account private so that employers can’t find you later on. Create a professional Twitter if you would like to generate content that corresponds to your career interests. Follow your mentors, credible news sources and people who you admire in the field and interact with them. Believe me, they take notice.
  4. Get involved in organizations and take leadership roles. They will give you experiences that will enhance and expand your brand to more people. Record your experiences – your peaks and struggles – so you can reference them during those tricky job interview behavioral questions.
  5. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Yes, it may feel like you are boasting, but you’re not! Everyone is involved in something special and has a story to be told. Make sure yours is told in the right way.
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