Thanks to social media and extreme job competition, your image has never been more important. A changing world makes a strategic personal brand the single factor that will make or break your next career opportunity.
In 2013, you need to reinvent your brand or be left behind.
“Consider yourself a free agent—no one else is looking out for your best interests but yourself,” says 20-year brand strategist Karen Kang. “You need to be crystal clear about who you are and the value you bring to a world where constant change is the only norm.”
Deemed “the master of personal branding” by marketing visionary Regis McKenna, Kang is the author of BrandingPays: The Five-Step System to Reinvent Your Personal Brand (January 2013). In it, she translates tried and-true Silicon Valley branding lessons to “companies of one,” helping individuals, graduates, and entrepreneurs accelerate their career success.
Kang has trained thousands of professionals on the unique BrandingPays™ System for personal branding, and has consulted to more than 150 organizations from Fortune 100 companies to non-profits and startups. Prior to her personal branding work, she was a partner at legendary marketing firm Regis McKenna, Inc., that helped launch the Apple, Intel and Genentech brands.
Working with both companies and individuals allows her to bring the recipe of corporate branding to individuals, and the consumer and social media insights from personal branding to companies.
Her practical methodology makes branding as easy to understand as “Bake the cake, then ice it,” a metaphor she uses to talk about the rational value (cake) and emotional value (icing) that make up strong brands. The system outlined in her book helps individuals reinvent themselves in five steps:
1. Define your unique “cake,” or rational value.
2. Develop the key messages that support your cake.
3. Put your cake and icing together.
4. Define your ecosystem.
5. Develop a two-part action plan.
The book also helps people identify what’s holding them back, dispelling brand-hindering beliefs – like “great work equals a great reputation” or “my boss will market my brand” – and empowers readers to be their own brand managers. Kang uses a wealth of real-life examples to show that personal branding is an attitude of education, rather than promotion.
“I really encourage you to read this book. I encourage you to give it to your children. I encourage you to give it to your colleagues. Because this is the foundational discipline of the new economy. If you cannot market yourself, the new economy doesn’t work for you…Karen nails it. It’s a very clear program. Anybody ought to be able to execute it and I encourage you to do so.” — Geoffrey Moore, bestselling author of Crossing the Chasm
KAREN KANG (BrandingPays.com)is a recognized brand strategist and the CEO and founder of BrandingPays LLC, a corporate and personal branding company. She has trained thousands of professionals on the unique BrandingPays™ System for personal branding, and has consulted more than 150 organizations from Fortune 100 companies to non-profits and startups. She is a former partner with Regis McKenna Inc., the legendary firm that created and helped launch the Apple brand. She is a frequent speaker at leading business schools and professional organizations. She has a B.A. from Mills College and an M.S. from Boston University. Follow her at @karenkang, and Facebook.com/brandingpays.