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Article written by Melinda Tolliver,
WWPR Content Co-Chair Board Member,
Senior Manager, Digital Media, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

As communicators we are constantly thinking about how to build our company or client’s brand, but what about our personal one? On Friday, April 9, WWPR held a conversation on personal branding in a virtual world—our new reality.

Alexia Baillow, senior manager of corporate communications insights and impact at Capital One, joined her mentor, Carol Blymire, founder and CEO of Blymire Communications, for a discussion about the important role of personal branding, especially in a virtual world.

Here’s the advice these personal branding experts had to share:

Your Brand is What People Say About You When You’re Not in the Room

One thing was made crystal clear during the chat: Your words and actions are what define your brand. To build your brand on- or offline in a more holistic way is to make sure your words and actions align with how you want to be perceived.

Carol and Alexia noted how important it is to take advantage of the conversations you have with your colleagues and others in your life. Are you talking about your love of pizza or your passion for the work you do? Either track is fine to take, but the one you do take most often could define your brand.

Make Your Personal Brand Memorable

In painting the picture of a memorable brand, Carol asked attendees to imagine themselves looking at a shelf of laundry detergent at the store. Which brand are you drawn to? It’s likely not random.

As we know, brands have business success because they make an emotional connection with the customer. In the case of personal branding, that brand is yourself. Not only making sure your words and actions align with how you want to be perceived, but also figuring out ways to make yourself memorable.

Alexia recommends starting with the things that make you tick. Figuring out what specific thing or things you really care about and how you can apply that to your career or personal brand.

Take Advantage of the Branding Opportunities Available in an Online Environment

According to Carol, it can be difficult in an online environment to make true connections, but it also provides more opportunities to do so that can help define your brand. An example of this is our social media presence.

Your LinkedIn bio, for example, is a great opportunity to tell something about yourself that is memorable, not just the age-old, “I’m a dedicated PR pro.” Write the things that you want people to remember about you—those are the types of things that will make you stand out from the crowd.

Carol also made sure to mention that many of the things we did before we went all-virtual still apply now. While we are getting far more exposure at meeting people in different ways, it’s more important than ever to pay attention. Give some thought to how you show up and network in an online space and, of course, take advantage of the opportunities to sell who you are.

Revamp that Bio and Brag Away

Both Carol and Alexia shared the importance of having a killer bio for your personal brand. In particular, be sure to brag away! After all, if you don’t, who will? Talking about the wonderful things you do is a good thing.

Now that we’re mostly virtual, it’s a great time to dust off your bio and give it a little shine. Reframe your bio as how your work impacts communities and why people should care. Alexia recommends you think of it in a storytelling way, rather than just writing out your background.

And don’t feel ashamed or like you can’t talk about yourself in that way!

In summary, we’re all very good at doing branding and PR for our companies, but not always as great about branding ourselves. It’s time we start applying those principles to ourselves as well.