Become a Personally Branded Celebrity Expert in Your Industry

Become a Personally Branded Celebrity Expert in Your Industry

IStock_000003447587XSmall  I’m sitting here writing this blog post thinking about all
the celebrities who have strong personal brands like Madonna, Oprah, and Bill
Gates. It’s amazing to me how they have used their personal brands to springboard
their business marketing strategies and sales in an authentic way that outclasses
their competition. Personal branding is about leveraging the art of impression
management to influence the perceptions of others and how they think of your image
within a professional or personal environment.

Here are a few secrets to help you become a famous celebrity
within your own industry:

1)  Know Your Brand

Unfortunately most people today still think that branding is
all about large corporations that use brands to market products and services.
It’s always revealing when a new prospect calls me to talk about my services
and I ask them the very simple question, “Tell me about your personal brand and
how you communicate it out in the world?” Most people can’t clearly articulate
their personal brand message, so how do they expect to create an overall image
that silently communicates it? You’ve got to do some work to really understand
your brand. Then you can begin to make yourself relevant, distinct, and
memorable in the hearts and minds of others.

2) Reinvent Your
Personal Brand

All great celebrities with enduring brands like Madonna’s
reinvent themselves. She is the queen of a chameleon-like ability to reinvent
herself while remaining true to her personal brand. Throughout the years she
has gone from virgin to material girl and then to mom, actress, and author. She
understands the need to continually update and repackage herself in a new and
improved way. The same is true for every professional who wants to be
“selectively famous” in their industry. You should always start by charting
your reinvention campaign with inside secrets. By this I mean intuition talk to
uncover and explore your deepest secret goals, dreams, or career aspirations.
When you are true to your personal brand you are authentic and unlike anyone
else – which makes you unique in your own area of expertise. So often I speak
with prospects who are confused about their personal brand style. Everyone has an
individual style formula and it takes some innovative strategies to reinvent
the overall packaging in order to stay current with the new trends and rules of
conduct in this era of globalization. Today it’s all about being on the cutting
edge. So consider reinventing yourself to give your career or business a new

3) Increase Your
Visibility in the World

Today with the numerous online virtual tools like LinkedIn,Twitter,
and Facebook it’s crucial for every professional to step up their online
presence. In this new media age organizations search through Google to locate industry
experts who can speak at their summits, conferences, trade shows, and other
events. Employers, “headhunters,” HR professionals, and business people are also
on the bandwagon digging online for information about people prior to hiring
them or buying their products or services. So what is your online visibility?
Everything is going virtual – so now is the time to start marketing your
personal brand through new media technology as well as in person. Don’t forget
that online visibility gives you greater exposure – but nothing replaces your
visibility like a powerful live and in person brand and image to build
long-term relationships.

4) Create a
Professionally Branded Online Presence

Today everyone is searching over the Internet to find you
for one reason or another. Be sure that the first impression you make is a
wonderful one – not an accident or worse yet, and embarrassment left over from
a spring break while you were a freshman. As a professional your head shot,
bio, summary of work experience, and the overall look and feel of your online
presence sets the tone for your personal brand. If you want to communicate that
you are the expert in your field, don’t just share photos of your personal life
on social sites. If you do a speaking engagement or attend an industry
convention, show it in pictures. People love to see you in action! Make sure
photos, text, font, and even colors that you display online all communicate and
reinforce your personal brand. If you have a website this is a must.  It’s always fun to Google a new client
who tells me they want an online image and brand presence. Too often what I
find is not the message they wanted to broadcast – and usually it’s more of a
patchwork than a cohesive brand – but it does inspire them to rework their
online image.

5) Build a Strong
Professional Community

These days it is critical that you build a strong
professional network of people who love you and rely on your expertise. These
champions will help you leverage your brand by telling people how wonderful it
is to work with you or your organization and how much you know about your
field. Freely share some of your insider secrets with your network to give them
a taste of your value. Always give back to those who are in your network and
help to promote them to others. People love to help people who also reciprocate
by helping them. When you build a strong community and people understand your
brand they can become your personal proactive ambassadors to make you
selectively famous within your industry. I think “Who can I promote and help
champion today?” Many times I will do this with my colleagues and trusted
advisors by having them be a guest blogger for me or by connecting two
professionals together who may have a great deal in common. Always give more
than you get to your community.

I’d love to hear any stories of how you have created your
own celebrity-expert status by building a strong personal brand. Feel free to
make a post that tells us about any branding tools you used to help become “brandly”

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You may, as long as you include this complete bio with it:

Sarah Hathorn is a professional image consultant, certified personal brand strategist, speaker, and author. 

Her company, Illustra Image Consulting, works with high-achieving future leaders and large businesses by enhancing their corporate and personal brand image to take their businesses and careers to the next level.

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Copyright © 2010, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS

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