Personal branding, an emerging trend in career-marketing communication, is variously defined as image, reputation, connection, a promise of the unique value of a product (you), expertise. Randall Hansen of the career-development Web site Quintessential Careers writes that “branding is the combination of tangible and intangible characteristics that make a brand unique. Branding is developing an image — with results to match.”
Branding (some call it self-branding when talking about individuals) is essential to career advancement because branding helps define who you are, in what ways you are a great performer, and why you should be sought out. Branding is about building a name for yourself, showcasing what sets you apart from others, and describing the added value you bring to a situation. Your brand describes your essence and the significance you bring to employers.
Most job-seekers are not proactive in establishing and building their career brand, hoping instead to let their actions speak for them when seeking promotions or new jobs. But you can make yourself a much more attractive employee or job-seeker by taking the time to master some basic tactics that can help build your career brand. In this book’s introduction, Annette Simmons cautioned that when people wonder who you are, “if you don’t take the time to give a positive answer to that question, they will make up their own answers “ usually negative.” The same is true in branding; if you don’t brand yourself, others will for you.
Management guru Tom Peters, writing in his book, The Brand You50 (Reinventing Work): Fifty Ways to Transform Yourself from an “Employee” into a Brand That Shouts Distinction, Commitment, and Passion!, states: “Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are the CEOs of our own companies: Me, Inc.” He adds, “You’re not defined by your job title and you’re not confined by your job description.” Branding, especially personal branding, is primarily storytelling, and another advantage of branding yourself is that your story is unique. “When you learn to put words to your unique story, you can use it and the values you’ve developed to define you in a way that no one can copy,” writes Chris Hiliki in May I Have Your Attention, Please?