24 Oct. 2007
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My Brand!

Some Advice From CareerBuilder.com

I was going to continue with more short items from The List, but I just came across an article on CNN that they imported from CareerBuilder.com

Question: What do Coke, Reebok and Target all have in common with you?
Answer: You are all brands.

Confused? Think about your favorite brand of tennis shoes. More than likely, you've developed a relationship with this shoe: You rely on it, it's never let you down, and you trust it to get you from point A to point B.

Like consumer products, you have a brand as well -- your reputation. Whether you know it or not, as a working professional, your rapport is your most vital asset, no matter what your career goals are.

William Arruda, founder of Reach Communications, a global personal branding organization, and co-author of "Career Distinction: Stand Out by Building Your Brand" (2007) sums up the basics of personal branding in the following question and answer.

Q: What is personal branding?
A: Personal branding is using what makes you unique and valuable to stand out from your peers and attract the attention of people who need to know about you.

The article is copyrighted and much longer, so I'll just add a few more bits.  Click on the link above if you are actually interested.  (I pretty much decided I wasn't when it mentioned that I've "developed a relationship with this shoe:"  I don't even have a relationship with any given sock, a much more intimate clothing item.)

Q: Why is it important to have a personal brand?
A: Because there are numerous others who want to achieve the same goals as you...

Q: Are there different types of brands?
A: There are as many brands as there are people...

Q: How you can tell what type of brand you are?
A: You need to do a lot of introspective work to determine your values, passions, goals, motivated skills and strengths...

Q: How does what people think about you impact your success as a professional?
A: Another word for personal brand is reputation. In the new world of work, your reputation is the only accepted currency...

Q: How can you maintain your brand?
A: Branding is all about maintenance. You need to put a little bit of who you are into everything you do so you are building your reputation as you go about your work. Think about how you can exude your brand during meetings,...

Q: What are some tips you offer to clients who are looking to create a brand for themselves?
A: 1. Know yourself...,  2. Flaunt your quirks..., 8. Build career karma...

Reading this article, and seeing phrases such as "exude your brand" made me think of a brander far greater than William Aruda and his ilk, if Aruda even has an ilk.  I refer to that shining exemplar, Stan Freberg, the greatest Advertising Man of all time.  The man who wrote Grey Flannel Hat-full of Teenage Werewolves.  None of this namby-pamby exudation for Stan!  When he wants to brand himself, he goes for it directly:

Stanley Freberg, Stanley Freberg, buy some of him today,
This show is costing a hundred bucks, And brother that is hay,
He'll make you chuckle chuckle chuckle when he appears,
He filters the jokes all the way to your ears,
Stanley Freberg, Stanley Freeberg...The all American dog.

You get a lot to like in a Freberg,
Sneakers, glasses, flip top head!

Stan Freberg the foaming comedian,
Floats the jokes right down the drain!

As much as I admire Freberg and prefer his approach to that of Aruda, I will give Aruda credit for one piece of branding advice: Flaunt your quirks!  If I were interested in being a brand, I'd be sure to flaunt my quirks.  If, of course, I had any.

Follow Up April 2017

Stan Freberg died in April 2015. I added a personal reminiscence to this blog a couple of years afterwards.

NP:  "Bad Day" - Juliana Hatfield

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