January 11, 2012

By: 
Rachel Strella

What does YOUR brand look like?

By Matt Hannaford, Relationship Manager

Michael Jordan. Tim Tebow. J-Lo. Lady Gaga. Howard Stern. Kim Kardashian. The Beckham’s. Rush Limbaugh. Steve Jobs.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, all of these people have a world-renown brand and they are just one person. When you hear these names, you think about something specific – perhaps Nike, a fragrance, or Apple computers.

As social communication becomes increasingly relevant, your personal brand is more important than ever.

Think about how you have present yourself at different times of your life.  In college, you may have acted or dressed one way, but as you entered the “real” world, you may have changed your wardrobe and grooming habits. That is because you understood the power of the image you projected.

Did anything inherently change about you between college and entering the “real” world? Perhaps not, but you understood that presenting yourself a certain way had value.

In today’s fast-paced, super-connected world, your image isn’t just what people see when you walk in the door. To even arrive at that door, you’ll have to pass a series of checks, many of which will be online.

What will a potential employer or client find when they Google you or follow you on Twitter? Will they like what they see, or will these tweets you made about the fraternity house keg party come back to haunt you?

By maintaining constant vigilance on your online brand, you can control how people see you before they ever meet you. Personal brand management may soon become more important than interviewing skills. Without maintaining your personal brand you may not even be selected for an interview.

Here are some quick ways to monitor and maintain your personal brand:

1)   Google yourself regularly and set up Google alerts.

2)   If you notice something that is incorrect, alert the site webmaster and ask them to take it down or correct it.

3)  Create your own content. If you are active on multiple social media channels, you will likely see those pop up as the top results. When someone is searching for you, they typically don’t search past three or four of the results, so it’s to your advantage if the top four or five entries are self-controlled and monitored.

What does your brand say?

Check out the LinkedIn group, Personal Brand Management, for tips and further discussion about maintaining your personal brand.

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