Personal branding in the digital age - course handouts
Personal Branding Workshop
Creative Exchange, Derby
Wednesday 30th June 2010
1. What is personal branding?
People buy from people
Personal branding is how you can shape others perceptions of you, by using marketing and branding
techniques, to further your personal or professional goals.
“If you type an email, you’re branding yourself. If you have a conversation with a friend or family member,
you’re branding yourself. How you dress, what you eat, and how you talk all contribute to your brand. Think
of your brand as the summation of all the associations about you that are stored in people’s minds.”
- Steve Pavlina, Personal development coach www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2008/02/personal-branding/
The origins of personal branding
Branding is what distinguishes why you buy a product: you choose a wine if its label, its design, its
description and its marketing speaks to your values.
Successful British brands include: Howies (eco-friendly clothes), Innocent (pure fruit smoothies) and
Marmite. All have the same successful attributes: great content (a great product), great design and unified,
consistent marketing messages.
Personal branding was first defined in a 1997 Fast Company Magazine article “The Brand Called You” by
Tom Peters. Instead of relying on a company for career guidance, it’s up to you to become a ‘free agent’ to
take ownership of the brand called you. The new ‘killer app’ at that time - email – would only be read and
engaged with if you already had a strong, personal brand connection with that person.
Social media changes everything
Before: Jobs are for life, stay loyal to the company brand.
Now: Loyalty is to your professional journey working with organisations that can support your
Before: Only businesses and organisations are visible online, branding is a corporate issue.
Now: Social networks mean anyone who chooses to can become an online influencer. What you
say as an individual counts.
Going offline is NOT an option
Three laws of personal branding:
Authenticity: Be yourself, replicas aren’t valuable. Define your brand before someone else does for you.
Transparency: It’s better to be straightforward and honest then lie and have your actions work against you.
Visibility: If you aren’t known, you don’t exist.
Taken from “Me 2.0” Dan Shawbel www.personalbrandingbook.com
2. What are other people saying about you?
Google yourself www.google.co.uk or www.google.com
Social mention: www.socialmention.com
Google Grader: www.brand-yourself.com/features/google
Asking family, friends, colleagues
360 degree assessment (compare your view and others):
Johari’s Window: www.kevan.org/johari
Activity: Circle the three words closest that most accurately describe your
Able accepting adaptable bold brave calm caring cheerful
clever complex confident dependable dignified energetic
extroverted friendly giving happy helpful idealistic
independent ingenious intelligent introverted kind
knowledgeable logical loving mature modest nervous
observant organized patient powerful proud quiet reflective
relaxed religious responsive searching self- assertive self-
conscious sensible sentimental shy silly spontaneous
sympathetic tense trustworthy warm wise witty
3. The four-step personal brand planning process
1. Discovery 2. Brand
what’s your what are your
Start doing (and
The 4 Cs of
measuring) personal marketing
Find your sweet spot: The secret to a successful personal brand is knowing your strengths, who your
audience is and why they will buy from you. The digital economy benefits experts and those who can own
their niche – by carving out a deep niche you can eradicate the competition. Your niche covers:
• Skills (provide specialist technical or service skills)
• Service delivery (a unique methodology, a different way of purchasing or billing)
• Values (your style of service delivery matches the values of your customers)
To succeed in your niche you need to have:
Differentiation (standing out from crowd) with
Marketability (providing something others want and need)
“Work less, earn more, love your job”
It sounds too good to be true, but by doing what you love work will be fun, you will be more motivated so
you can earn more. Personal branding adds value to your job or enterprise and improves happiness - in and
Focus on what you do well – be a super-hero (or heroine) within your strengths. Outsource your
Use keywords to define what you do. These are words that you can use to attract the most website visitors
(Search Engine Optimisation) which also align with your brand which you can use in all your content (talks,
status updates on social networks, website, brochures).
www.googlekeywordtool.com – find out the traffic in UK and global for your keywords.
Personal development resources:
Myers-Briggs Personality test: www.myersbriggs.org
VIA Survey of Character Strengths: www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu
Belbin Team Roles: www.belbin.com
The Highlands Ability Battery: www.highlandsco.com
Personal SWOT analysis www.businessballs.com/swotanalysisfreetemplate.htm
Personal PEST analysis www.businessballs.com/pestanalysisfreetemplate.htm
“But I’m not a salesman!”
Personal branding is perfect for those who aren’t natural sales people. By planning your approach
to your brand and sticking to it you are ‘soft selling’ your brand – what you do, your values and
services – every day. Don’t cold call: let them come to you.
2. Brand planning – What are your goals?
Define your audience:
- Who is the audience for your products & services?
(location, lifestyle, demographics, buying behaviours)
- What are their values?
- Create User Personas – archetypes to describe the types of customers you have and what they
expect from your business
Know your market:
Competitors – Who are you losing work to currently? What can you learn (and steal) from them?
Comparators – Who are your peers? Who can you share with them and learn from them?
Key influencers – Who do you aspire to be? How and when could you connect with them?
(Tip: social media is a great short cut to influence your influencers)
Create your personal brand statement (external):
1) Personal positioning statement: what you’re best at who you serve
2) Personal Brand statement –your brand and your audience in one sentence
First work on your ‘log copy’ versions for your website, brochure or CV: 200 words, 100 words, 50 words, 35
words, 20 words, 3 words.
Create your personal vision statement (internal):
Where do you want to be – in 1 year? In 2 years? In 3 years? How do you want to be perceived in your
specialism? Financial goals? Personal priorities?
3 year career chart: Your big vision in 3
Your major Your major
goals in 1 year goals in 1 year
goals in 1 year
Actions Actions Actions Actions this Actions Actions Actions Actions
this this this this year this this this this
year year year year year year year year
Set your goals (short, medium and long-term) as SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and
time), for example:
“By April 2013, I want to be the leading web designer for the environmental sector in Derbyshire”
“By April 2012, I want to achieve three £5K or more web contracts in the environmental sector”
3. Approach – The 4 Cs of personal marketing
Think of your business as a market stall: to sell you need great:
Content – this is your products, and also the marketing content you use to promote your products. It could
include video, photos, your social network feeds, a blog, e-books
Community – Who gathers around your content and who you want to attract
Conversation – This is the chatter that sells your products, are they made using a special process? Do they
have an unusual history? Thinking about using key influencers to influence more of the right people.
Consistency – ensuring your design and content is consistent with your personal brand: tone, imagery and
also regularity and frequency.
4. Action plan
Look again at your goals and SMART objectives. Work out a short-term action plan (3-12 months) to
achieve them. Be realistic about how much time ongoing you can give to your plan.
4. Personal branding tools
Business card: add your photo & preferred method of contact
Virtual business card send by text message: www.contxts.com
PR – do newsworthy things, hire a PR expert
Using social networks and online content to support your personal brand:
- Your blog
- Guest write for bigger blogs, industry magazines, newspaper by-lines
- LinkedIn Answers, Yahoo! Answers
- Scan horizon in your subject area (Google Alerts, Twitter Search Feeds, industry journals)
- Write and re-tweet relevant stories as status updates
Have a memorable avatar:
- A consistent image, your face smiling and looking up or a distinctive logo
- Use your avatar consistently, or a consistent style of imagery
Claim your name:
- Register a name you can ‘own’ across all networks you may potentially want to later use (see
www.namechk.com for availability)
Audit your followers – Who are they? Where do they live? What sector do they work in? What do
they share? What percentage are friends/ associates/ strangers?
Tips for personal marketing on Twitter:
Once a day:
A tip based on your experience
Ask a question
Re-tweet an expert
Converse with a contact
Converse with a key influencer
Once a week:
Your new or archive blog article
Promote followers (follow Friday)
Once a month:
Build or promote a list
Twitter management tools:
HootSuite – www.hootsuite.com manages all major social networks and scheduling updates
TweetDeck – www.TweetDeck.com Desktop and iPhone App to manage all major social networks
7. Freelancer and micro business: Personal or company brand?
Business brand pros:
Gives you scale to grow as a business
Puts reputation against business rather than your name
Need to be less personal about your status updates (e.g. ‘we’ or ‘the company’ are doing instead of ‘I’)
Person to person networks are more effective than business to person
Managing two networks is nearly twice as time-consuming!
8. Monitoring your personal brand
Monitoring your digital footprint:
Be aware of the ‘traces’ you leave: the internet is an evergreen cache, good and bad content takes a long
time to disappear. Create new content to bury older content. Re-highlight great content (e.g. refreshing
articles, linking to past achievements).
Don’t say anything online you wouldn’t want repeated.
Make sure you know and control the level of privacy on your networks.
Capture and consistently measure your brand against your objectives:
• Google Alerts www.google.com/alerts – records new mentions of your name/brand
• Web Analytics – measures web traffic, particularly referral websites
• Social Mention - www.socialmention.com – your name/brand mention in social media
• Measure growth in users of your social networks, email list, customer database
• Capture and redistribute positive mentions, good PR and testimonials
9. More resources
Creative Exchange – e-marketing courses
Social Media Strategy – Thurs 8 July, £99
Digital Strategy – Thurs 28th October, £150
Creative Industries Network, Derby
Database of Derbyshire creative businesses including branding, design & photography
Personal branding coach, based in Nottingham
Course developed for Creative Exchange by:
Susi O’Neill, Digital Consultant
Personal Branding Workshop
1. Personal Positioning Statement
What are you best at and who do
2. Personal Branding Statement
Your brand and your audience in
3. PERSONAL OBJECTIVES
Your SMART (specific, measurable, (e.g. “By April 2013, I want to be the leading web designer for the
achievable, realistic and timely) environmental sector in Derbyshire”)
(choose a good timeframe for you
between 1 – 5 years)
4. ACTION PLAN
Set realistic action for next 3 – 12 (e.g. By November 2010 to have 300 UK environmental industry followers
months noting: on Twitter)
Allocated resources (time/money)