Where would you start if you had to reinvent your personal brand because of career ambitions, a layoff or other life-changing situations?
Karen Kang’s new book BrandingPays™: The Five-Step System to Reinvent Your Personal Brand would be the ideal starting point.
She’s a former partner with Regis McKenna, the iconic Silicon Valley marketing firm that created and famously launched the Apple brand.
Kang built her five point personal branding system based on concepts and techniques shaped from more than 20 years in strategic branding consulting for some of the world’s largest organizations.
BrandingPays™ is wonderfully constructed. It’s a practical, step-by-step, strategic guide to rebranding yourself. For the cost of the book, you’ve got the wisdom and guidance of a world-class branding consultant to help you take on your biggest client — you!
Five Steps to Rebranding Yourself
Kang draws on her personal experience moving from journalist, PR consultant and corporate branding into an expert in personal branding. She also adds insight with many stories and examples of successful rebranding.
“Brand yourself,” she says “or be left behind.”
She guides readers through five key steps including:
- Positioning: using a triangulation model that includes targeting audience needs, your own strengths and values, and the competition. All wrapped up in a positioning statement familiar to PR pros.
- Messaging: crafting your “elevator pitch”, talking points, evidence messages and the importance of a tagline.
- Brand Strategy: Kang walks you through creating a brand strategy platform with core values built on your strengths which include hard skills, soft skills, expertise/experience and personality. The outcome is your brand image and brand promise all wrapped up in a unique-to-you strategy.
- Ecosystem: includes your inner circle, influencers and network which acts as a marketing and sales team for you if you’ve done your previous three steps well. The most important job at this stage is to take time for relationship building.
- Action Plan: where the rubber hits the road. It involves four phases of brand communication including validation, reference building, launching and leadership positioning.
The beauty of the book is that each chapter ends with a summary and an Action List to be completed and move you ahead through each step in your rebranding.
Relaunching Brand You
Kang’s favorite analogy is to “bake the cake, then ice it.” The best part is that she supports this system with templates, graphic examples, action lists and links to many online resources.
Just the recipe you need for a new you.
Once you’re done the five-step program, you’re ready to bake and ice your cake using 360° branding with vision, symbols, words and deeds. Sound familiar? It will be to many PR and marketing pros.
Kang wraps up the book with tips on branding using multimedia, a look at portable branding and the critical importance of social media.
She’s done a masterful job in creating an easy-to-use personal branding blueprint based on a solid foundation of global branding experience.
Interview with Karen Kang
Kang took time out from her busy schedule for an interview to answer a few questions of particular interest to public relations professionals and PR students.
Karen, you have a background in journalism and PR as well as your branding experience. Is that where your focus on the importance of “messages” comes from?
Having clear and compelling messages are important because human beings can only remember one or two things about a person when they first meet someone new. My experience in journalism, public relations and strategic brand consulting has proven that unless a message is crystal clear and repeated often, it won’t be recalled.
What do you think is the biggest single barrier to reinventing yourself?
The inability to see both yourself and the market in a different light. The first requires an objective self-awareness, and the latter requires the ability to see the big picture, such as the trends and opportunities in the market, that present new opportunities for you.
Two best things to do to break through the noise/clutter/competition?
1) Be bold. It’s easy to just say what everyone else is saying and be a me-too. But, staking out a space in which you can be seen as a real leader with unique value will set you apart. That area might be a market segment, a management philosophy, an industry vision, a business skill or a philanthropic endeavor.
2) Engage your ecosystem to help you educate your target audience on what your position and value is, and how the world recognizes you for that value. If influencers endorse you with recommendations, introductions or just retweeting what you post, that will show you have influence in your area of expertise. Breaking through the noise is all about providing value that people want and need.
In your opinion, what do you think are the two most effective social media channels for branding yourself? Why?
1) LinkedIn is number one in my mind. It’s the largest and most important professional networking platform. Take the time to do a strong LinkedIn profile with a professional photo, a title and summary that immediately positions your value to the business world. LinkedIn provides a great way to demonstrate that your ecosystem endorses you and to engage with others in the professional realm.
2) Twitter has helped me to expand my network and to brand myself professionally, but I have to give the edge to Facebook in the ability to show different aspects of my personality and to tell my story in a more holistic way. I encourage others to think through who they’re trying to reach and which platform offers the best way to engage with this audience.
Thank you Karen.
BrandingPays™ Highly Recommended
Most important, BrandingPays™ will work whether you’re trying to refocus your skills and experience for job, career or business opportunities. And, it’ll work for professionals, entrepreneurs, politicians, students and anyone looking to create a winning personal brand.
I can’t think of a better book for anyone looking to rebrand themselves. You’ll find huge value in Kang’s system, her practical advice and wise counsel. And, as a bonus, you’ll be able to apply it to your own clients and organizations as well.
You can get Karen Kang’s new book through this Amazon link: BrandingPays: The Five-Step System to Reinvent Your Personal Brand.
(Disclaimer: a complimentary copy was provided for review though that does not influence my opinion of the book.)
Author: Jeff Domansky