How Personal Branding Can Save You From the Recession
Charlotte Huff, Deliver Magazine
Many marketers focus so much on their clients’
interests that they shortchange a potentially
top-shelf brand — their own.
While you don’t need to launch a company or hire a
public relations specialist to elevate your own
personal brand, you do have to understand what makes
you and your work unique — even if it requires some
“In this economy, it’s crucial for people to figure
out who they are and what their brand is,” says
Rachel Weingarten, author of Career and Corporate
Cool and founder of marketing company Octagon
Personal branding — the process whereby people and
their careers are marked as brands — seemingly comes
in as many flavors as ice cream, but three recurring
themes and stratagems have emerged:
Expand your expertise: Increase the value of
your personal brand by finding every opportunity
within your current position to expand your skill
set and knowledge base. You know the basics
regarding search engine optimization and search
engine marketing, along with analytics and the
rapidly proliferating social media venues. But you
should always be boosting and honing your expertise,
particularly in regard to offline-online synergy.
“The marketing future will belong to people who
understand how to cross pollinate direct mail with
the Web and other forms of marketing vehicles, and
then make it all work together,” says Gary
Hennerberg, president of Hennerberg Group Inc.,
which specializes in analytics consulting and
Boost your visibility: Broaden your expertise
and you’ll also organically increase your
visibility, says Liz Lynch, author of Smart
Networking: Attract a Following in Person and Online
and founder of the Center for Networking Excellence.
To complement that process, launch a blog to comment
on marketing trends. Worried your employer won’t
embrace this new side of you? Check first if your
company has a policy on personal blogs, and then
sell in the idea. But as long as you focus on
building thought leadership and sharing information
rather than bragging — or, worst of all, trafficking
in information that might reflect negatively on your
employer — you should be relatively safe. For
example, you could blog about a recent survey on
variable data printing and then describe a few
successful campaigns, Lynch says.
Most branding strategies shouldn’t hurt you at the
office, agrees Scott Couvillon, president of Dukky,
a New Orleans–based direct response marketing firm.
“A lot of companies are certainly appreciative of
people who have a following because it elevates the
stock of what they are doing,” he says.
Protect your brand: Building the relevant
expertise will require an investment, including
reading books and blogs during your “off” time. As
you start acquiring a branded expertise, be sure to
protect it, says Dan Schawbel, author of Me 2.0:
Build a Personal Brand to Achieve Career Success.
Online reputation management is crucial, he says.
Has someone praised one of your articles? Reach out
and make a networking connection. Conversely, use
online search tools to intercept damaging rumors or
misconceptions. “You can stop these fires before
they spread,” Schawbel says.
Schawbel’s own story illustrates that it’s feasible
to build a personal profile, even while working for
someone else. In his off hours, Schawbel developed
his own personal brand, which started with a blog,
followed later by his launch of Personal Branding, a
paid subscription online magazine.
Not long after, an executive approached Schawbel
about a job the company was creating: social media
specialist. Seems they’d become aware of, and
impressed with, his entrepreneurial branding
activities. “They brought me right in — I got the
position without applying,” he says.
Treating your résumé as your own personal
Don’t Use a bland objective statement at the
top detailing the type of position you seek. For
example: “To obtain a position in direct mail
marketing through which I can use my skills in media
operations to improve a company’s client base and
bottom line.” Yawn.
Do Talk about what you will bring. Write a
targeted profile summary, describing what skills and
value you would provide a future employer.
Don’t Use vague and vanilla-style
descriptors, such as “team player” or “people
Do Be specific, emphasizing results. Use
language like “Consistently recognized as a top
performer, as evidenced by the ability to leverage
team resources to deliver 100 percent of projects on
time and on budget.”
Don’t Give your accomplishments short shrift
by cramming them onto one page (but do keep the
document to a maximum of two pages). And don’t omit
key dates, such as your college graduation year. If
you leave them out, the potential employer wonders
Do Toot your own horn — when there’s
something worth tooting about. If you led the team
that increased ROI by 20 percent, then say so. It’s
not bragging, if it’s true and supported by
---Source: Deliver Magazine July 2009
Deliver is a USPS® publication.
website, software or database with
easy-to-integrate data quality programming tools
and web services.
Save money on postage using leading
mail preparation software and other
direct marketing products.
Update & standardize addresses and
find out more about contacts in your
Find new customers perfect for your
business with our online and
specialty mailing lists.
Locate the business information you
need such as ZIP Codes, address
your free copy of the Melissa Data product catalog.