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“Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You. It’s that simple — and that hard. And that inescapable.” – http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/10/brandyou.html

Tom Peters of Fast Company wrote those words in 1997, and the challenge he saw facing everyone at the turn of the century has become both the freedom and the imperative of today’s business world.

Company’s brands are no longer defined by their marketing departments but by their customers and then shared on social media. A customer’s experience is often made up of their experience of the staff and the personal brands of the staff who serve them. Whether you work for a small company or a large company, your brand in person and online matters to you and your boss/prospective boss as well as your customers!

Personal branding is about discovering and promoting the essence of what makes you stand out as a person and as a professional. In this book, we will be exploring how to create the best personal brand possible for you.

Your personal brand is a perception held by coworkers, clients, bosses, potential employers, the media, and even your own family. Everyone has a personal brand, and your personal brand exists whether you do a lot to make it happen—or neglect to do anything at all.

Whether I’m going for an interview, doing the interviewing, or meeting again with a long-time client about growing our business relationship, I turn to Google, look at LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, their blog, and maybe even do an image search. And there’s a good chance the person or company you have your next meeting with is doing it too. At that meeting, I continue to make judgments based on what is said and how it is said, how people look, how they stand, how they dress, and all of the other ways each of us projects ourselves. All of this affects our relationship both in the present moment and for the long term. When someone can’t be bothered to care about how they look, act or present themselves, that doesn’t mean they have a clean slate to start building their personal brand on—that IS their personal brand.

The key is that because it’s reflected in what others think and say about you, it can be influenced by how you carry yourself, what you wear, and the many other ways you project yourself. And in today’s digital world, social media has a lot to do with shaping perception.

Five years ago I could type “Murray Newlands” into Google and see a mention of me from University here, an interview I did once there. One of the big things that made me start my own blog at MurrayNewlands.com was the drive to speak for myself and have control over what people found when they went looking for me.

With my background in marketing, I clearly understood the power of the Internet, both as a way to communicate with large groups of people and as a way to make money. When I was making my next big move in late 2007, I saw that the power of creating a personal brand could be amplified by social media—and that was before most people had a blog or heard of Twitter. MySpace was still miles ahead of Facebook! I started a blog at MurrayNewlands.com and got down to writing about what I knew best—affiliate marketing. And I wrote about it in the way that I knew best—with my voice, from my experience.

In the years since, I’ve expanded to talk about social media, online marketing, publishing books and giving talks. Along the way, I’ve had the pleasure to meet hundreds of great people who work in some part of the online industry—and in all that time, I’ve heard everyone from friends to experts all define personal branding in different ways. I’m proud to be able to share my experience starting at MurrayNewlands.com with you and offer my advice about how to do personal branding efficiently and effectively.

But I’m getting ahead of myself—even before starting the work (and fun) of creating and talking about your personal brand, you need to dig into what your personal brand really is. In a larger sense, creating and maintaining a personal brand is a journey—to cultivate a brand for yourself, you first have to know what the essence of who you are actually is.

This book is about helping you take the journey of establishing your personal brand, and about getting the word out to the world—so let’s get started!

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What Is Personal Branding Copyright © by jim F. Kukral & Murray Newlands. All Rights Reserved.

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