Creating a Compelling Mobile User Experience: With millions of apps available today and growing at a rapid pace, consumers are spoilt with choice
A+ A A-

Personal branding what it is and a few tips on building one

Rate this item
(0 votes)
Personal branding what it is and a few tips on building one

We are all branded whether we like it or not, and if you don’t take responsibility for branding and marketing yourself, others will do it for you.


There are many myths around personal branding. Many think it’s pretending to be someone you’re not, or that it’s only relevant for celebrities. But personal branding is for everyone who wants to achieve career success.


Essentially, personal branding focuses on your uniqueness or your USP (unique selling proposition), how you position yourself relative to colleagues and competitors and how you are able to ‘package’ yourself in an authentic and noticeable way that makes you stand out.


There is a strong case for personal branding whether you are an entrepreneur or work in a corporate environment. When one thinks of one’s personal banking service or accounting firm, one generally thinks of one’s personal banker or accountant rather than the institution he or she represents.


Many people haven’t thought about what makes them unique and distinctive. What differentiates you from the millions of other financial advisors, lawyers or bankers out there? What makes you stand out from the clutter?


Once you have identified your USP and established the type of personal brand you want to create, it’s vital to ensure that you demonstrate the characteristics of your brand (your brand promise) in everything you do.


The concept of positioning your brand is an important one. Personal branding is often likened to mental real estate (a concept first proposed by Peter Montoya). The question to ask yourself is, “Which area in other people’s minds do I occupy?” Is that the area you want to inhabit? Is there a gap between the two? If so, how can you close it?


People are interested in the stories we tell about ourselves. But when you get a chance to talk about yourself, do you reflect your brand in the best possible light? How do you effectively demonstrate that your business experience positions you in the best possible way?


If you’ve given thought to your unique characteristics, the values that form the foundation of your brand, as well as ways in which you add measurable value, you are in a far better position to make yourself stand out. This is, however, only the first part of the process. Once you’ve defined and positioned your personal brand, you need to consider how to go out and market the brand in a way that is authentic and builds credibility.


Authenticity is so vital. Everything you do needs to tie up in terms of the message you’re giving about your brand. You can’t spend so much time on branding yourself and developing a fabulous positioning that you forget to deliver. Awesome brands always deliver.


Once you’ve created a personal brand, it’s important to focus on the three core marketing strategies: building value adding relationships, enhancing your personal visibility and generating word of mouth advertising.


Here are five top tips to build your brand:

  1. Get feedback from others about how they perceive your brand. Compare their opinions to how you want to be seen and find ways to close any gaps between the two.
  2. Really understand your uniqueness and what makes you an asset to your business or organisation – play on this; build on it and communicate it consistently.
  3. Determine whether or not you are memorable and what you can do to become more memorable. Make sure everything you do has a ‘unique’ touch. Take it a step further: understand what the unique aspects are of what you do that people will talk about.
  4. Develop a story about yourself and how you got to where you are today. Ensure it is compelling and evokes an emotional reaction from others. This doesn’t mean being untruthful, it simply means learning which information to highlight and which unnecessary details to cut out.
  5. Assess and develop your ‘online’ branding. Start off by Googling yourself and assessing the results. If you’re on facebook, ‘clean’ up – take off any unflattering or compromising pictures. Get active on LinkedIn, especially as it’s the largest professional social network available. Use the digital space to increase your visibility.
Last modified on Tuesday, 26 March 2013 13:30
Donna Rachelson

Donna Rachelson

Donna Rachelson is a branding and marketing advisor who works with people and teams in professional service based businesses.


She has held a number of Marketing Director positions in blue-chip organisations including Nando's and the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants, as well as marketing management positions at Standard Bank and AECI.


Donna is driven to empower people through incorporating branding, marketing and business development into all aspects of their work. She has a solid business education, including an MBA, and is currently a guest lecturer at GIBS.


She is also author of the best-selling book Branding & Marketing YOU, the first South African based personal branding and marketing book.


Donna is CEO of Branding & Marketing YOU, a company that helps people and teams to brand and market themselves, and develop their business in innovative and impactful ways. The company has trained and coached many people across more than 20 blue-chip clients, including Microsoft, Discovery, Standard Bank, Nedbank and Basil Read. The companies that have embraced the concepts are seeing real results and a definite return on investment for their employees, both personally and business-wise.


Donna is a dedicated wife and mother and in her spare time assists charity and NGO organisations to market themselves effectively.


Her motto that drives her is ‘making a marketing difference every day.


For more tips on personal branding and marketing, visit her website.


Latest from Donna Rachelson

Related items

  • Headshots a Head and Shoulders above Ordinary
  • Ditch your personal branding bad habits
  • Differentiate or Die?
  • Executives risk stagnation without a personal brand
More in this category: « The workplace in 2050: Managing change through effective leadership No……People are NOT our Greatest Asset! »

Leave a comment

The SA Leader Magazine


In the August issue


Rules of tax governance in the new world

The importance of Directors and Officers Liability Insurance in spite of the new Companies Act and King 3

Tips to ensure mobile safety


Copyright © 2014 gdmc (Geoffrey Dean Marketing Corporation cc). All rights reserved. Material may not be published or reproduced in any form without prior written permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy. External links are provided for reference purposes. is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites.

Login or Subscribe