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The term “branding” has long been relegated to large companies.  But today, thanks to social media, every individual has a personal brand. Not many of us insurance agents have consciously cultivated our personal brand, but they exist nonetheless. Social media has changed the world when it comes to personal branding. According to an AVG study (, 92% of children under the age of two already have a digital footprint.  Yes, 92% thanks to the wonderful world of the Internet.

If you choose, you can guide and cultivate your personal brand or you can let it be defined on your behalf. Here is an article on personal branding. We will also go over several starting points on how to create you an awesome personal brand.

First: You must start thinking of yourself as a brand

What do you want people to think of with when they think of your name? Is there a certain subject matter you want to be associated with?  Or do you want to be looked at as an expert in a certain area? Once you understand and get a grasp on how you wish your brand to be perceived, then you can start to be more strategic about it. This doesn’t mean you can’t be human; it’s best if your brand shows your human side.

Second: You must audit your online presence

You can’t mold perception without first understanding the current status of your personal brand.  So how do we do that in today’s times?  Simply Google yourself and find out what Google says about you. The other advice I would give you is to set Google Alerts on your name so anytime your name is mentioned, you will be notified. Do you have a very common name? You should consider using your middle initial or middle name to differentiate yourself. Cultivating a “strong” personal brand is about being responsive to what is being said in the internet world about you, it is about creating intellectual property.  You must track your personal brand and be able to respond.

Third:  Secure a personal website

Having a personal website for yourself is one of the best ways for your name to rank on the search engines.  Here is my example . It doesn’t need to be robust; it can be as simple as a two to three page site with your resume, link to your social platforms, and a brief bio.  But make sure to have great visuals; it needs to show what you stand for.  Showing who you are allows people to see the real you! Jerry Greenfield said it best with “It’s good to stand for something, to believe in something and base your business on values.”

Fourth:  Produce value

We’ve all been there.  Someone in your network posts in the social world something utterly ridiculous and you wonder what compelled them to do so? Find ways to add value to your audience by creating content that’s in line with your personal brand and aligns with your morals and ethics.  Once again, be human and allow others to see the real you!

Fifth:  Be purposeful in your posts

Every tweet you send, every post you make on Facebook, every Google + like, every picture you share, and every quote you post contributes to your personal brand. Once you understand how you wish your personal brand to be perceived, you can start to be much more strategic about presenting yourself.  Remember to post with a purpose and not just to make noise in an already very noisy social world.  Your personal brand should stay positive and avoid negativity.  Negativity doesn’t help anyone and it most certainly won’t help you and your brand.  Think before you post, ask yourself if what you are about to say will help someone.  If the answer is no, then don’t post it. Social media is not about YOU, it’s all about others!

Sixth:  You are who you associate with

Associate with other strong brands.

Your personal brand is strengthened or weakened by your connection to other brands.  It’s just like the old belief that you are the average of the 5 people you hang out with most. Understand that other strong brands can elevate your own personal brand. My good friend John Fear says, “Start with the three C’s:  college, company and colleagues.” Which school or schools have you attended? Are there groups you can join or did you join in college? An alumni newsletter or newspapers you can contribute to? Consider creating content that you share with others or become a guest blogger on other strong websites.

Seventh:  Reinvent. Become the storyteller

A strong personal brand is dependent on a strong narrative.  You need to tell a strong story. Don’t be shy; share your story. Think of famous people who have told their story:  Taylor Swift, Madonna, Mark Cuban, Sir Richard Branson, etc. They all have one thing in common; they have a very clear story and a consistent brand. If you are like me and have multiple passions or areas of interest, a narrative becomes even more crucial so that there can be a unified theme to your personal brand. If you need help defining your story, there are several books I highly recommend reading:  Reinventing You by Dorie Clark, Branding Yourself by Erik Deckers and Kyle Lacy or The Charismatic Edge by Owen Fitzpatrick.

Most importantly, let’s NEVER forget a strong personal brand should forever be evolving. I hope after reading this you will take the first step of creating your personal website to start the creation of your own personal brand.  Wishing you all the best on your brand and remember to allow others to see the real YOU!