Branding

How to Build Your Personal Brand

A personal brand is more than what you wear. Your brand is your public identity, and it can be a great asset if managed well.
Latest posts by Mary Jesse (see all)

Your personal brand should reflect YOU!

LionessMag_MaryJesse_Pic1Raggedy-looking guys are considered hip. Similarly-dressed women are considered ill-groomed. What to do?!

I think most female tech CEOs can appreciate my frustration: How can male tech CEOs get away with T-shirts and ragged jeans up on stage, but as a female tech CEO, I couldn’t? The guys were considered hip, but I was just underdressed.

I needed a brand. A hip female CEO tech brand that I could make my own.

Along the way, I discovered that a personal brand is more than what you wear.  Your brand is your public identity, and it can be a great asset if managed well.

Here’s how I developed my personal brand, and how I continue to refine it.

1. Find Examples

I looked for examples of women I wanted to emulate. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find many examples of female tech CEOs that dared step beyond the classic professional business look. I was looking for the Steve Jobs effect–casual, but confident.  Sally Jewel was the REI CEO at the time. She always dressed in outdoor gear, representing both her brand and her personal passions.

2. Decide on Your Message

The first step in any branding exercise is to determine what message you are trying to convey.  What’s the branding goal?  After some thought I decided upon a few key attributes that reflected both my personal passions and my company’s publicity needs: strategic thought leader, trustworthy, confident, smart and successful.

3. Get Help Where Needed

Next, I focused on how I could turn those words into a great look. Although I love clothes, I was never particularly good at picking them out, so I got help.  After describing what I was looking for – comfortable, slimming, casually elegant, light and preferably wrinkle resistant – I discovered Eileen Fisher fit the bill perfectly. I quickly assembled a basic wardrobe, mixing in a few pieces from other designers. To my delight, I was spending much less time stressing over what to wear and at the same time looking better than ever.

4. Be Consistent

Once I had my personal message crafted, I began to incorporate it into my psyche.  The best way to build a brand is to propagate it consistently, protecting the integrity of the message.  I used to hear jokes at a past employer about their “brand police.”  Given they are one of the top ten brands globally, it would have been worth hiring an entire army to protect the value of their brand.

Guess what? You are your own brand police. Reflect your brand message every time you tweet, post, pitch, interact, lead or speak publicly. This is a truly empowering concept. Like a spotlight intensifies light, a well-managed brand elevates your impact.

5. Evolve

Change is a constant in life.  It is important that your personal brand evolves as you do: When you change jobs or take on a new role.  When Sally Jewell left REI to become U.S. Secretary of the Interior, her brand changed.

I went looking for an outfit, but found my personal brand.  I thought I’d spend more time getting ready, but now I spend less.  I thought it would be more work to communicate, but in fact it is easier.  Life is full of pleasant surprises.

Article Courtesy of Lioness Magazine

Total
0
Shares
Previous Article

How to Succeed in Pleasing Your Customers

Next Article
Office Politics

How to Survive (and Win at) Office Politics: The Clean Way

Related Posts
top Detroit startups
Read More

Top Detroit Startups and Tech Companies to Watch in 2022

Michigan is now the state with the highest growth in VC investment. Now many Detroit startups are on the fast track to growth. Whether it’s new funding, expansions or IPOs, it’s been an eventful year in Detroit startups. Next year is looking even better. Here are the top Detroit startups and tech companies to watch in...
startup success
Read More

How to Achieve Startup Success from Day 1

The decision to take the leap into starting your own business is never an easy one, regardless of your experience or industry. But as venture capital (VC) firms grow, with the average seed deal growing from $1.7 million to $4.6 million in the last decade, more and more people are breaking into the startup ecosystem....
pay-per-click tips
Read More

5 Pay-Per-Click Tips for Startups and New Businesses

Pay-per-click (PPC) marketing can be an extremely valuable strategy for any business, but particularly startups trying to get their foot in the door. The problem is that as a new business, you likely don’t have a large budget for potentially expensive projects such as online advertising, and may not have the knowledge to develop an...
second-time startup founders
Read More

5 Real Advantages for Second-Time Startup Founders

As a first-time founder, starting a startup is incredibly difficult. Raising capital, finding product-market fit and acquiring customers isn’t easy. As a second-time founder,  it is a bit easier.  After our first company was acquired, I knew that I wanted to start another company. Working for yourself, especially during the earliest days of founding at...