Branding: not just for products

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              Cite: American Narrative

How many of you have gone to a salon and said, “Give me (insert celebrities’ name) hair cut”? Do you look at magazines and wish you could have (insert model’s name) body? When I was younger,  I wanted to look like Reese Witherspoon in “Legally Blonde,” Rachel Bilson in the “O.C.” and also about a million other celebrities. Apart from physical aspects, do you ever do or say something just to fit in? Do you try to conform to the status quo? What about cultivating your own look, your own beliefs and your own unique self?

I was up in New York City this past weekend and began thinking, in between interviews, about developing my “personal brand.” This is a process in which you foster your image so that others come to recognize it.  For example, Kelly Cutrone is a PR professional who is known for being brutally honest and wearing black at all times. Even if you are not a fan of Kelly Cutrone, you cannot deny that she has successfully established her personal brand. Creating a brand means projecting a definite view of yourself to the world. If you have a personal brand, there will always be people who do not like you or do not want to be associated with your brand.

Another woman that has successfully branded herself is Hillary Clinton. You may not agree with her politics, but most women consider Hillary to be intelligent, articulate, and a pioneer, since she was the first woman to run for President in the United States.

Branding yourself is a deep process, one that can take your whole life. First you must ask yourself questions. For example, who am I? What image do I want to project to the world? The point of branding yourself is to find that point of uniqueness. What makes you different from the hundreds of other applicants? What makes you an individual?  Next, you must act on your brand. If you are quirky and nerdy, don’t try to be like the “cool” girls. Embrace your weirdness!  If you are a female engineer, don’t be afraid to express your femininity even though your profession consists of mostly men. I think Kelly Cutrone put it best when she said “normal gets you nowhere.”

Even if you are not applying to jobs like me, you can still benefit from personal branding. It does not have to be a commercial exercise, but can be a way for you to figure out who you are. Remember, you are always changing and so can your brand!

Who do you think has successfully branded herself/himself? Do you have a personal brand? Do you have any advice about how to build your personal brand?