The breakout session for which I was most excited was the first session on Sunday. I attended “Brand You,” hosted by Matt Prince, a social media manager at Disney. Social media and Disney are my two of my favorite things, so this was clearly a big one for me. Before Disney, Prince founded his own creative agency and launched two successful blogs, among other things.
Companies are becoming more like individuals and vice versa, Prince says. We can use this to our advantage when shaping our personal brand.
Your personal brand, according to Prince, includes your name, image, online id, reputation and network. It is the definition of you, as defined by others. “Your brand isn’t what you do, but what people think you do,” he says.
Prince shared his 10 secrets of personal branding:
- Find yourself. Create a road map including a business plan, a mission statement, objectives and goals. Evaluate yourself with a SWOT analysis. Find your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Once you’ve laid out your plan, follow the map.
- Make an impression. “Live every day life you’re on a first date,” Prince says. Always show off the best version of yourself. You can do this by always having your branding tool kit on hand. Prince says your kit includes: your elevator pitch, website, blog, social media, resume, business cards and breath mints. Whatever your version of success is, mirror these qualities. At the same time, always be genuine.
- Do social right. “Social media is not a brand strategy, it’s a tool,” says Prince. Anything you post should follow Prince’s IFE IFE Rule. They should have at least two of these characteristics: interesting, funny, educational, impressive, flattering or embarrassing. Use social media to listen, reply, expand and as leverage. One way to take advantage of Twitter is to find influential users, look through their lists and follow the people they follow.
- Be narrow-minded. Don’t be narrow-minded in the regular sense of the term. Prince means that you should follow the plan and follow your gut.
- Be a content creator. Creating content allows you to control you message. By controlling your message, you control your brand. Your content should be high quality and enhance brand. Deliver your own message and “forget the mailman,” Prince says.
- Be a story teller. Simple and truthful stories are the most effective because they make your message memorable.
- Take it offline. Get off the couch and carry your brand in person. Networking is key. You can use the Internet to keep in contact, but much of relationship building should happen in person.
- Repetition of Reputation. Be a consistent version of yourself. Repeated messages shape your personal brand.
- Know your audience. While consistency is key, it is also important to fully adapt your message to your audience. Also make sure to update your tool kit to fit the needs of your audience.
- Have fun.
Prince was a very engaging speaker and I learned a lot about personal branding and social media. Have you used any of these ideas in your own brand?
This post is the sixth in a series from the 2012 PRSSA National Conference. Be sure to read my previous post about two living legends in public relations.