by Ira Kaufman

Why Create a Personal Global Brand?
A number of years ago, a news anchor with a major TV station, we’ll call her Juliet, asked to meet with me for coffee to discuss how to use social media to promote her program; she wanted to become a nationally recognized newscaster. I suggested that we take a closer look at establishing her Personal Global Brand before utilizing digital technology. I asked Juliet some questions about her “brand story,” and we came up with a list of attributes she felt were essential to showcase her personal global brand. Juliet remarked that she wants “to be remembered and distinguished from the crowd,” and reach the level of respect and power that Katie Couric (global news anchor) possesses. This was an impressive goal, but not unattainable by any means; a strong Personal Global Brand is a mix of exposure, reputation, trust, execution, and distribution. I reflected on this chat and developed a system for anyone to build and market their personal global brand; what does your personal global brand say about you?

Juliet’s Reflections On and Offline

Your personal social brand is a reflection of what U have done in life and what U want to be recognized for. U are the qualities or characteristics that distinguish U from your colleagues. With the growth of digital media, your life is an open book. Your personal brand has been transformed into your Personal Global Brand (PGB); it is now strengthened or weakened by your online persona. It is much more than a resume, it is your living and constantly evolving global digital footprint.

A recognized PGB has become increasingly crucial since millennials, the generation that has grown up with social media and the expanding digital marketplace, are joining the workforce; in 15 years, millennials will make up 75% of the market.
Communicator Geoff Livingston blogged we should not confuse brand and reputation. “Social media experts with huge personal brands and followers number in the tens of thousands may be well recognized, but don’t often have the reputation to match.” He went on to say that grounding personal brand on continuing results may be the key. So what are some other steps can U take to cross the chasm from brand to reputation?

Building Your Personal Brand Strategy… 8 Steps

  1. Strategize U
    • Set your goals – Prioritize your goals. What do U want to accomplish, both short-term and in the long-run, with your personal global brand (e.g., get a job, build your business, gain exposure, or become a thought leader).
    • Develop a step-by-step plan – Take the time to do this planning. It is critical and often neglected or procrastinated. Link specific objectives to communication tactics, and a timetable. Review your progress quarterly.
    • Gain Competitive Advantage – Everyone has a resume; few have developed a PGB, publishing venue, and online destination. Pew Research says in their Digital Footprint study, “18% of working college graduates report that their employer expects some form of self-marketing online as part of their job.
  2. Define U
    • Clarify your identity – What makes U different? What do U want to be known for? Ask yourself, “How do I create remarkable, measurable, and
      distinctive value?”
    • Reveal your real power – Everyone has a source of “power.” U need to come to terms with this power with a sense of humility. For some, it is one’s
      physical attractiveness, others their accomplishments, others their sincerity and patience; and others their network. You might be known for making the most significant contribution in your area. Your power is in how others identify you – your reputation. Be aware of it and use it discriminately.
    • Define your “global calling card” – This is how others will connect with U. Sum up yourself in one phrase or word. Choose four keywords or phrases that engage and best describe your areas of expertise, interest and future goals. These terms are how U identify yourself; how others locate U through the maze of social networks, and how they find U though the search engines.
    •  Scope out your path – It’s a maze. Display a diverse portfolio of experiences that develop new capabilities, develop new expertise, grow relationships and networks, and constantly reinvent U.
    • Clarify your values– In order to share your values, U have to first understand them yourself. Take time to define your core values and how they define your purpose. Reflect on what motivates and inspires U before trying to convey
      them to others.
    • Share your vision – Powerful people translate strong values into a clear vision. They inspire others with their courage, generosity, and insights. They motivate others with their shared purpose.
    • Express your loyalty – Loyalty distinguishes U from the masses. It’s loyalty to your vision, loyalty to your team, loyalty to your project, loyalty to your customers, and loyalty to yourself.
  3. Express U
    • Develop an elevator speech – Who is Juliet? Within the time that it takes an elevator to travel four floors – about 30 seconds – practice delivering an engaging message of yourself: what U do, how U do it differently, and the benefit U provide to others.
    • Share your passion – Your passion adds zest and power to U. It energizes your Personal Global Brand and distinguishes U from the crowd.
    • Develop your style – Consistently show who U are and what U stand for in a style that defines U. This includes your look, colors, texture, tone, and “logo.”
  4. Develop U
    • Refine your communications skills – Communication skills are a great asset and need to be developed and refined. Strive to become an inspired
      speaker and cogent writer; it will be a great asset in building your brand and increasing your upward mobility.
    • Define U with dress, etiquette, and tradition – Learn good business and social etiquette. Balance your culture, tradition and individual style; your outer impression greatly affects your brand. This practice has changed significantly with the rise of millennials and the multicultural nature of our society. However, if U are ever unsure, it is still best to err on the side of formality.
    • Select social relationships carefully – Your relationships, romantic or otherwise, affect your brand. Be aware of the impact your partner may have on your PGB.
    • Give something back … time, talent, money – Find a cause U are passionate about. Share your resources, expertise and network to charitable causes. It expands your network and builds your brand. Choose your volunteer efforts to harmonize with your PGB strategy.
    • Strive to become a Thought Leader – Become a recognized authority, well connected resource for your specific “keywords.” This requires offering regular and engaging content — webinars, blogs, social posts.
  5. Publish U
    • Create a consistent digital profile – With the growth of digital media applications, it is important to develop your profile, keep it updated and
      refined. Develop a digital profile and through a social aggregator like Hootsuite, distribute your profile and conversations to your network.
    • Define your online persona – This a summation of your online conversations and status updates. Your conversations are your personal
      brand and define U! Be careful of what U post online; be conscious and selective. For example: 77% of recruiter’s report using search engines to find
      background data on candidates. Of that number, 35% eliminated a candidate because of what they found online, data from Star Tribune.
    • Create your online destination – This is your formal personal online publishing venue (e.g., blog, website) that can serve three purposes. It is your online location that people and search engines can find U. It can be your interactive resume including your articles, personal expressions, accomplishments. Or it can be a format to share your professional opinions and research. This further defines your personal brand and serves to distribute your content.
  6. Globalize U
    • Live the Global Village – Because the digital world is so expansive and accessible, it is certain that U will cross paths with someone whose lifestyle
      and PGB is different than your own. Do not be surprised by the variety of different cultures U will come in contact with through digital world. Embrace the differences and fresh perspectives; open your mind up to new opportunities.
    • Practice Empathy – Because your connections will be with people in different stages of life and from around the world, you must listen to them without judgement. It is important to keep up-to-date on current events, including holidays, and cultural differences that may affect those in your network. Cultural sensitivity is essential to retain respectful and polite relationship with those individuals as well as your PGB reputation.
    • Think Outside the Box – Do not only utilize your network when U need something specific (e.g., a job). Networks are full of many different kinds of people that approach problems in various ways. Collaborate with people in your network to come up with creative new solutions to issues facing U or your company.
  7. Leverage U
    • Walk the Walk – Once U decide what values your Personal Global Brand stands for, U have to live them both on and offline. U cannot simply tweet your way to being respected and being seen with integrity any more than U can wish yourself wealthy. Both require consistent hard work and dedication.
    • Utilize your Network – Not only is your network full of people who think differently than U, it is full of people that can help support the values that represent your PGB. From organizing community service projects to raising money for a charity and beyond, do not underestimate the influence of networks.
    • Be Responsive – It is easy to publicly announce when your PGB has had a positive impact on a community or network, but taking responsibility for actions with a negative impact is much more difficult. Once something is posted in the digital world, it becomes nearly impossible to remove it, whether U post it or someone else has. It is crucial to take responsibility for negative actions attached to your PGB. In doing so, the controversy will blow over faster. Your PGB will be able to recover much faster than if U ignore or lie about the situation.
  8. Scale U
    • Listen, Participate, Comment – Be active, participate regularly in your networks. Sometimes that is listening and strategizing a response, other
      times it’s commenting. Well-thought-out responses encourage people to connect with U and include U in their personal network.
    • Build your network – Networks in this generation are global. Building your, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter friends is a daily activity. Make new business/social contacts and stay connected. Most people with powerful brands have powerful friends and contacts. This is how U will distribute your
    • Demonstrate your impact – U are your results: the projects U create, manage and deliver measurable results for. Share them; they define U.
    • Monitor your online reputation – Be aware of what is affecting your personal brand. Do regular Google Searches on your name and monitor links on the results. Register for weekly Google Alerts to track mentions of you or your organization (make sure search terms are in quotes). Use URL shortening services like Bud Url, and Tiny URL to track your online exposure – this is your digital footprint.
    • Access great resources – There are extensive resources on the technical ways to build your online brand. They are being updated often. Refer to these excellent resources:
      • Kred for measuring social influence and outreach
      • PeerIndex for a more accurate view of your influence over time; does not change dramatically due to sudden spikes in activity
      • Sprout Social for a cross-content posting system that offers detailed analytics

Your PGB is your introduction to the world. It is what U are judged on. Take the time each week to nurture your brand; network online and face-to-face, post regularly in professional networks, etc. U control your brand, make it work for U. Below is a simple matrix which can be expanded to the 33 tasks. It will be a reminder and make U accountable to the development of your PGB.


Prioritize goals


Listed goals




Helped me to focus

Your personal brand is one of your greatest assets. Refine and project your brand; it will position U for new opportunities.