Branding You

By Heather Baldwin

When you think of powerful brands, what comes to mind? Coke? Wal-Mart? Austin Powers? You? Wait a minute – you? Absolutely, says Karen Post, the self-proclaimed Branding Diva and author of Brain Tattoos: Creating Unique Brands that Stick in Your Customers’ Minds (AMACOM, 2005). Next time you walk into a presentation, she says, you need to be the most powerful brand in the room. Successful sales professionals know they’re not just selling a product or service – they’re selling themselves. The best way to do that is to create what Post calls Brand Moi, your own brand.

“Brand Moi is your personal mark that makes you special, memorable, desirable and worth extra money in the bank,” says Post. “The power of branding creates the perception of leadership and competency. Personal brands start at the core of one’s existence and spread throughout every point of contact to your target audience.”

The concept of people as brands is nothing new. Think about Oprah, Martha Stewart and Dr. Phil. They are all powerful brands. You know who they are and exactly what they are about. Can your audience say the same of you? If not, it’s a new year and the perfect time to build your own brand. Start, says Post, by setting accountable goals for your career and personal life. Then go on to define your brand, taking into account your personality, values and goals. Once you decide on your brand, execute it passionately and consistently. “If your brand is hip, stay hip. Don’t post a tired, dated, bad photo of yourself on your Website or in your company directory. This is your brand,” says Post. “If you are on the cutting edge of technology, don’t use a 1960-style typeface in your business correspondence. Your communication needs to scream your brand. This means all points of contact.”

Finally, audit your presentations for both content and appearance. Do they communicate your brand? Audit your wardrobe down to your eyeglasses and jewelry, Post adds. What you look like when you walk into your presentation expresses your brand as much as your words and charts.