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The Rise Of The Personal Brand

An excerpt from the book Six Pixels Of Separation by Mitch Joel.

"Big companies understand the importance of brands. Today, in the Age of the Individual, you have to be your own brand. Here's what it takes to be the CEO of Me Inc." With those words, management guru and best-selling book author Tom Peters launched the concept of personal branding with the cover story for Fast Company magazine, nearly ten years ago.

Through the years since Peters first brought the concept forward, many image consultants, HR professionals, and sales trainers have encouraged their clients (and anyone else who would listen) to think about themselves as personal brands as they grow their entrepreneurial endeavors. In most cases, this involved tips, tricks, and tactics to get other people to simply "like you. Effective? Maybe, but it was never a great long-term strategy.

On top of sales-like tactics to get people to buy from you, personal branding takes on an even more important part in your life in this era of digital footprints. Because you are publishing content and building community in this very personal channel, it's not just about what it does for your business, but what it will do for your, personally. One of the major discoveries you will make is that like any of the major brands out on the market, your personal brand is also going to rise and become publicly known. The true power of Six Pixels of Separation comes from understanding how your personal brand is developed and nurtured, and in making sure it connects effectively in these digital channels. This is a whole new way of doing business. Now, with a simple search, your personal brand lives, breathes, and is the overall perception people have of you (and your company).

Now, more than ever, our personal brand is something all of us need to pay a lot more attention to. In this digital age, your personal brand will be your most powerful ally (or enemy).

There's no trick to nurturing and developing your personal brand. Be yourself. It's not about being fake. Use these channels to align yourself with others who are similar or complementary to you. If we've learned anything so far, we know that you have to be able to find that specific online niche that will be the perfect place for you to be you and grow your business accordingly.

In the end, what we're learning is that the brand comes from within. A strong brand shines when the core values and belief systems of why it was created are as obvious as the logo, packaging, website, and supporting marketing materials.

People are confused about the meaning of the word "branding." Branding is not the logo, the brochure, or the e-mail. Branding is the heart and soul of a business--and of the people who make up that business. Branding is what the company (or person) "is." It gets ever more complex in a world where individuals are becoming recognized brands as well. The truth is that branding can't be defined in a few paragraphs. Volumes have been written about it.

That being said, brands rise (and fall) every day because each and every one of us is making decisions about that brand based on our own values and beliefs. From there we decide if the product or service "fits" who we are--or who we want to be. We're either investing in that brand or divesting ourselves from it.

For more information about the book Six Pixels Of Separation, click here.

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