An A to Z Guide to Personal Branding [Infographic]

Bruce Springsteen doesn’t send me email often.

Okay, he never has. But if he did, I promise you I’d open it. What’s on your mind, Boss? I have to know.1

Why would I be so receptive to email from Bruce? I like him. I trust him. His name means something to me—something special (to put it mildly).

I recognize Bruce Springsteen as a master storyteller about the human condition, whose stories are set to music. I recognize Jay to be a master storyteller about marketing, sales, and service.

Would I Open Your Email?

If your email lands in my crowded inbox, I may or may not open it. Chances are I’ll open it if I recognize you as someone I trust—someone who can deliver some sort of value into my life. So there’s the crux of what I’m trying to tell you today: You want recognition from those with whom you can have mutually beneficial relationships.

In 1997, Tom Peters wrote for FastCompany, “It’s a brand new world.” He continued, “We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”

“Personal branding,” as a term, was born.

Tom explained, “When everybody has email and anybody can send you email, how do you decide whose messages you’re going to read and respond to first—and whose you’re going to send to the trash unread? The answer: personal branding.”

The question remains as valid today as it did in 1997, but 20 years later, you can apply the same sort of deliberation to your blog, online program, any social media channel, or any form of communication. If you want an audience to know your name and attach meaning to it, you have work to do.

Personal Branding by the Letters

There are quite a few pieces of the personal branding puzzle, both digital and traditional. Many broach topics you’ll study and practice for any kind of brand. Others apply strictly to you and the things you do as an individual.

By Barry Feldman