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Bac G1 - G2 2009 Oral Exam: How to Develop Your Personal Brand

Last night, many meetings had Lisa Ellis up until midnight. But it's all in a day's work for this executive in charge of label strategy, artist development, and digital business for future music distribution at the recording label. It hasn't been an easy progression toward gaining the status she currently enjoys, but like so many ambitious professionals, Ellis established her reputation through hard work, integrity, determination and commitment. She calls this mix of character traits her personal brand, which has effectively helped her earn four new titles in four years.

Professionals should understand that branding is not creating a magical perception of who you are, explains William Arruda, president of a personal branding company. "It's not spin. It's not packaging, it's really about understanding who you are and what makes you great and then using that to increase your success." Personal branding is much like corporate branding in that your name is associated with good performance. Your brand is a promise of the value others will receive when, for example, you are recruited as a team member, hired from another company, or promoted from middle management to the executive rank.
"So your intentions in branding have to be about having integrity in your job first and foremost", Ellis says. :It's not just about sticking out, being unique, or being the smartest person in the room. You have to do good work; the work speaks for who you are".

Arruda says building a good professional reputation takes time, sometimes six months or longer depending on the individual. But it also requires effort. The steps to get your brand moving include the following:
-    asking questions about what makes you different or unique;
-    getting feedback about your product's performance;
- gaining credibility by being visible through an elaborate personal communications plans, a company's newsletter, public speaking, a Website, etc.

Adapted from Black Enterprise, July 2007.
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