Friday, April 23, 2010

Brand Yourself- Back to the Basics

Branding is a term close to all of our hearts in the PR industry. On a daily basis, we help maintain our client’s brands: their identity and their story. We want to pitch each of their unique stories to the outside world. Brian Solis, PR guru, recently wrote a book titled “Engage” about how brands and businesses can build, cultivate and measure success in the new web. It is all about what you can do to leverage yourself, set yourself apart from the crowd.

As a second semester college senior facing graduation in 22 days (but who’s counting anyway) my mind is consumed with branding both professionally and personally. I am constantly reading articles and blogs about the importance of branding yourself, creating your own unique brand. I even follow @brandyourself on Twitter. We all spend so much time consumed with branding our clients, but what about branding ourselves? I read pointers such as, “Make your Twitter name reflect and identify yourself professionally,” but what does this all mean? The same is true for companies, brands and individuals alike; there are several steps that need to be taken before diving straight into “branding” yourself.

College is often referred to as a time to “find yourself.”  As cliché as this statement sounds, there is substantial truth to it. Understanding yourself is the key to branding yourself. We become wrapped up in creating a perfect tale unlike any other that truly portrays our superior qualities and skills, but it is time to return to the basics.

Last summer, I took a management course taught by a fantastic professor. On the first day of class, she told us the key to understanding and working effectively with any boss, client, co-worker, teammate or friend is to know their personality type. Before being able to work effectively with others, you must first be aware of your personality. She made us go home that night and take the Myers-Brigg personality test. This single assignment was the stepping stone in the challenge to brand myself.

The Myers-Brigg personality test identifies 16 distinctive personality types based upon interactions with different preferences, such as types of decision making and information processing.
"Perception involves all the ways of becoming aware of things, people, happenings or ideas. Judgment involves all the ways of coming to conclusions about what has been perceived. If people differ systematically in what they perceive and in how they reach conclusions, then it is only reasonable for them to differ correspondingly in their interests, reactions, values, motivations, and skills." -Myers-Brigg
Knowing and understanding my personality type changed the way that I presented myself to others and interacted with them. It helped me better gauge my strengths and weaknesses. Identifying my personality was the best way of getting the ball rolling on branding myself. While I am still in the midst of branding myself, and know I will be for years to come, I constantly stop and ask myself a couple of questions:
    What do I know?
    What skills am I good at?
    What am I truly passionate about?
    What excites me?
Understanding your personality, as well as others, and exploring both what excites you and what you love is only the first step in branding yourself, but it is important step.

As the pressure of graduation and starting my career slowly begins to weigh more heavily on my back, I force myself to sit back and take time to brand myself. We all know how important it for our clients, so why not make it a priority for ourselves?

-Charlotte Robertson, intern, spring ‘10