Building Your Personal Brand

April 12, 2017

Aloud StudentsAs ​someone who’s just starting to brand herself professionally and personally, one of the best tips I’ve ever received was “​Don’t be strict and don’t be afraid. ​Post what makes you happy, makes you laugh, inspires you, makes you think and whatever you feel is important to have linked to you.”

Alona Elkayam, ​founder of The Brandinist​a, was the first who brought this idea to my attention. Her advice that “a personal brand and a professional brand are connected” made me rethink my online identity and the connection between the two.

​Julie Hochheiser Ilkovich, President of ​Masthead Media​ Company, reiterates this with her central idea that business doesn’t define you. There are an undeniable amount of things that contribute to your brand. While it is important to be professional, you also have to be yourself.

There’s no point in having a brand if it doesn’t portray the person behind it. This is something many of us struggle with as it can be difficult to decide what to post and what not. It’s obvious  when a person is being transparent, and it isn’t just about what you see on a screen or piece of paper — it’s what you bring to a room.

Where do you draw the line between your professional and normal self? As Tanya Jones, Career Coach and Executive Producer for​ Meredith​, sees it, your “personal brand should be an essence of who you are.” Obviously stay conscious of what you’re posting, writing, saying, doing and how you’re acting — but don’t constrict yourself. If you’re afraid to post about a topic that you feel strongly about because a future employer may not agree with it, keep in mind that maybe you don’t want to work for someone whose values don’t align with yours. A difference of opinion is a fantastic thing to have, but if you’re afraid to use your voice, maybe that's not the best place for you.

Remember that you don’t have to be everywhere, but where you are, be there.​ If you love Twitter, brand yourself on that platform. But if you hate blogging and can’t keep up with it, simply refrain.” Let your best self show, and use branding as a constant way to improve the already incredible and empowering person that you are.



Posted by: 
Lexie White

Mastering Self-Promotion

February 14, 2017

AloudPro BlogDo you struggle with self-promotion? Are you reluctant to tell others about your success? Women often think that ‘singing their praises’ will be perceived as pushy, and they’re reluctant to embrace their powers. But self-promotion is not taboo — especially if done strategically.  

It is important to remember that society is increasingly embracing women as change-makers and ambassadors for global social issues. On Jan. 21, 2017, millions of women did just that: They made history when at least 3.3 million people participated in the Women’s March in more than 500 US cities and in many other marches around the globe. 

Still, even with women’s success stories on the rise, we are still conflicted with whether or not self-promotion is acceptable. NYWICI tackled the issue in a recent Twitter chat with NYWICI member and Twitter chat cohost Julie Livingston, the founder and president of Want Leverage, a public relations and business development consultancy firm.

Julie shared insights on why women should “sing their own praises,” and strategically promote their way to success.

Should women promote their career successes on social media?
Don’t be timid about promoting ‪[your] career success on social media. Spread the word and form new connections. Actively promote your ‪success on social media using an editorial message calendar. Promote yourself by sharing blogs, personnel news and event photos and showcase your thought leadership. People will notice.  

How should women embrace self-promotion?
Women should reframe self-promotion from negative to positive by asking themselves, “How can I make my work visible?” Instead of “self-promotion”, stress the ways your talents and work are of service. Get excited about having more impact. Ask yourself, “Are my accomplishments visible at work for current and potential clients?” Self-promotion does not equal being pushy. There's power in being known. There’s a difference between empty bragging and confidence that comes from knowing your skills and being optimistic. If you believe in what you're doing, why not tell others?

How does one self-promote without being perceived negatively?
Make self-promotion part of your daily routine. Write down self-promotion goals and set deadlines for achieving them. It's not too late to start! As a communications pro, position yourself as a resource for writers looking for experts. Self-promotion is a powerful tool to gain visibility and credibility. Don’t be afraid to look for opportunities. If you do not take credit for a job well done, guess what happens?

It is important to build networking relationships among coworkers in other departments to increase exposure and credibility. “Show your competency by increasing visibility! Strategic self- promotion is the key.”



Posted by: 
Rodeena Stephens

Storytelling as a Marketing Tool

June 14, 2016

storytellingWith so many online voices, it is important that brands find imaginative ways to connect with their customers. Creative storytelling allows brands the opportunity to take consumers on a visual journey.

How is storytelling evolving in this age of technology? To answer this question, we invited Julie Livingston to share insight during our May 31, 2016, Twitter chat. As President of Livingston, PR, Julie advises clients on how to effectively use storytelling as a PR strategy.

Storytelling as a marketing tool

  • Social media and content marketing provide perfect platform to tell stories as part of brand marketing.
  • Stories contribute to a brand's persona, a powerful mechanism for connecting with consumers.
  • Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to breathe life into your brand.
  • Storytelling helps to differentiate your brand from the competition.
  • Consumers form a personal connection with your brand thru stories that are authentic, creative and inspirational.
  • New social media platforms are influencing brand storytelling such as snapchat.

Changes that Impact Storytelling

  • Because of social media, attention spans are shorter. Stories must be brief, yet compelling.
  • Audiences have become more fragmented, specialized. Stories that appeal to Millennials may not to Boomers.
  • The advent of mobile has also influenced brand storytelling. Must be brief and highly visual.
  • Real-time storytelling is on the rise. Snapchat is a great example of real-time storytelling.
  • The brand's audience demographic will often dictate the kind of ‪#storytelling theme.

Examples of Great Brand Storytelling

  • @Progressive has done remarkably well through ‘Flo,’ a character created to tell its brand story.
  • @KennethCole used his fashion brand’s advertising to raise awareness of various social causes through powerful storytelling.
  • @TOMSshoes helped pioneer a type of disruptive storytelling.
  • @warbyparker has used storytelling to make consumers care about buying eyeglasses and helping others.

User-Generated Content

  • Brands are shifting gears from content creation to content curation and getting their fans to contribute.
  • User-generated content (UGC) can come in the form of Instagram photos, Facebook posts, Snapchat,Twitpics and more.
  • Sometimes, user-generated content is requested by a brand in exchange for a contest entry.

Popular Storytelling Platforms

  • Mobile technology and pervasive use of smart phones has contributed to the state of marketing and storytelling.
  • Think Snapchats, Vines, YouTube videos, influencers, long/short-form content.
  • Social media distribution and even made-for-TV content is evolving, changing the face of storytelling. Great example of this would be @Dicks film, “We Could Be King.” They won an Emmy in 2015 for its effective storytelling.

Brands have a story to tell and every effort should be made to identify what best resonates with consumers. Julie’s final thoughts on storytelling: “I think great brands actually tell the story of the customer getting what they want within their own brand story.”

Posted by: 
Rodeena Stephens

Becoming Your Own Brand

February 3, 2016

On Feb. 2, 2016, NYWICI hosted "Marketing Yourself at Every Age" — on standing out, staying relevant and navigating bias.

Panelists included (left to right): Jamie McLaughlin, founder and president of Capstone Hill Search (@CapstoneHill); Celia Currin, executive career coach (@celiacurrin); Alyssa Gelbard, founder and president of Resume Strategists, Inc. (ResumeStratgsts); moderator Robyn Hatcher, author and communication skills expert and founder of SpeakEtc (@SpeakETC) and Soniya Monga, global agency partner lead at LinkedIn (@soniyamonga).

Here are key takeaways of a very lively discussion:

What goes into a personal brand?

I don't like the term 'personal brand' — I think it's cheesy. It's really about reputation. How do you want your clients, colleagues and others to see you? How do you figure out a way to be yourself? You need to have a point of view and something to say. (Soniya)

One of the key things in building a brand is to be consistent. Building familiarity and repetition across channels — from your message to your headshot — will help people remember you. (Alyssa) 

You want to have one thing that makes you the go-to person, even if it’s knowing the best golf courses. The passion you let out can show up on the personal side. (Celia)

People mistake standing out for being controversial; you don’t need to do that. (Jamie)


How important is passion in marketing yourself?

When you can match your passion with your skills, it’s magic. I would also hire someone more passionate and excited about the job than someone with a great resume but no passion. You can be successful without being passionate, but at some point that's going to catch up with you. (Alyssa)

All interviews are about three questions: Can you do the job? Will you love the job? Can I stand working with you? The third question may be the most important: People want to work with others they enjoy being around. (Celia)

Find something in the job you are passionate about — whether it’s the outcomes or the flexibility, which leads to a better work life balance for example. (Jamie)


What are things you want to pay attention to or avoid doing?

You have to be aware of who you’re marketing to. (Jamie)

Don’t just limit yourself to behind the screen. Get out there face-to-face, go to alumni events, meet with people. When you’re thinking about your online brand, be careful that the brand you’re putting out there doesn’t make you sound like you have more experience than you actually have. (Alyssa) 

A mentor once said to me, “Say yes to everything.” Go to every networking event, set up coffee with people. There’s a difference with people who do their research, know the background of the person they’re meeting with and follow up with a personal note. People often forget about this, so it stands out more if you take the time to follow up. It's easier to build your brand that way. (Soniya)

Do your research. Google yourself periodically and see what comes up. Keep things private and don’t share anything you wouldn’t tell your grandmother over dinner. (Jamie)


How do you craft your message?

Short and brief messages grab the reader’s attention. Have one thing that you are the go-to person for. This opens up opportunity to reach more people. It can be a professional specialty or personal specialty. Let some of your personality out! And use the summary space in LinkedIn to talk about your brand. (Celia)

Be yourself and have a specific point of view to craft your brand around. People are drawn to stories. Craft a story of who you want to be perceived as and have a sense of where you want to go. (Soniya)

In your written communications, proofread everything. Don’t be sloppy. (Alyssa)


Does appearance play a role in your personal brand?

When you think about appearance, there are so many aspects to it — your hair, clothes and accessories. Think about your environment, who you’re meeting with and be consistent with your brand. (Alyssa)

You need to come across as a trusted advisor with expertise. If you're not sure about the dress code, ask. (Jamie)

Get a couple of interview outfits that you feel and look great in. (Celia)

— With reporting by Kathleen Brady, Jessica Kleiman and Angela Morris.
Photos: Jan Goldstoff 


You may also be interested in reading a transcript of a past NYWICI Twitter Chats on the same topic: Positioning & Personal Branding with cohost Selena Soo (@SelenaSoo) and Personal Branding with cohost Joanne Jombrakos (@joannetombrakos). 

Personal Branding: Essential to Your Success

September 29, 2014

What do people say about you when you’re not in the room? You may not think twice about your professional image, but the way people perceive you is essential to your personal success. Moreover, hiring decisions are often made by the hiring manager’s perception of you.

Our personal brand is a part of who we are. According to Selena Soo, publicity and business strategist and founder of S2Groupe, “everyone has a brand — the question is, does your brand reflect how you want to be seen?” Unfortunately, many people are unaware of what their personal brand says about them or how to effectively develop it to leverage professional success. But if you want to be known for something, “let the world know! Blog about it and talk to people about it,” advises Selena. And make sure your brand is “authentic, distinctive, consistent and memorable.”

Your personal brand does not start with social media, however, or your blog. While your presence on social media is important, building your personal brand is an ongoing obligation to define yourself on all platforms. 

In a recent NYWICI Twitter chat Positioning & Personal Branding, Selena shared a few key questions to ask yourself when building your personal brand:

  1. What do you want people to think of when they hear your name?
  2. In a few words, what describes your personal brand?
  3. What do you want to be known for? Branding includes your “big ideas.” Nike’s is “Just Do It,” “Apple’s is “Think Different,” Samsung Galaxy’s is “The Next Big Thing.” What is your “big idea?
  4. What difference do you want to make?
  5. What makes you unique?

Think about what your personal brand means to you. As you interact with co-workers and others, be aware of your overall presence and what others are thinking of you in that moment. We’re constantly evolving and should consider branding check-ups often. Ask someone you trust and respect to share honest feedback about your personal brand. Don’t hesitate to take a self-assessment of yourself and adjust accordingly.

Further reading:

Posted by: 
Rodeena Stephens
Subscribe to RSS - branding