The best brands always try to do the right thing, so that their
reputations will remain unsullied. But beyond that they grow, evolve
and get better with time, while maintaining their special qualities
from the past.

We all have a personal brand with social, cultural, intellectual, and
personal needs that may not necessarily be addressed in our daily
work. Address these needs and you begin to improve your brand. Here
is my agenda for building your brand.

Join and participate in community and professional organizations
Generate media coverage about your brand
Stay in touch, or renew old ties with friends, family and business
associates
Let?s examine how each one improves your brand.

Join and participate in professional and community organizations
The best brands grow, evolve and get better with time, while
maintaining their special qualities from the past.

Professional and community organizations provide ample opportunity to
learn and grow.

They provide professional development opportunities. They allow you
to network with peers as well as with people you would not
necessarily ever meet in the normal course of your workday.

For instance, I am a member and served on the board of our local
International Association of Business Communicators chapter. This
allowed me to broaden my contacts in the corporate communications
world, as well as form a number of friendships I probably never would
have developed. I?m also a member of the North Carolina Citizens For
Business and Industry. Here I meet people from all walks of life and
all work disciplines. Finally, I am involved with Charlotte Reads, a
local non-profit that focuses on literacy issues. This allows me to
use my communication experience in support of an issue I feel very
strongly about.

But it?s not enough to just join groups: you must participate to
benefit fully. As a participant you have the opportunity to stretch,
to gain confidence in yourself. Learn to lead by involvement on the
board or in a special project.

If you are a communicator by trade, try being treasurer for the group
to exercise the other side of your brain, or take on a special
project about which you feel strongly.

Generate media coverage about your brand
All that professional and community involvement will certainly lead
to opportunities to leverage that involvement into news about the
brand called you. And, of course, there will be promotions, new
assignments, and awards at work, too. More opportunities to make
headlines.

Your achievements are of interest to local print, broadcast, and
online media, particularly the business pages. In Charlotte, the
Observer has a weekly feature called On The Move spotlighting someone
in a new position. The Charlotte Business Journal has a similar
feature called Moving Up. If it is a big enough move and your company
won?t do it, pay the estimated $150 to place it on BusinessWire or PR
Newswire. Consider it an investment in your future. Don?t forget
trade publications serving your industry and alumni publications.

Seek out speaking engagements and write guest articles, too. This is
yet another way to publicize your brand. And don?t forget to do news
releases when you make a speech or write an article. It?s all about
merchandising.

To stay top of mind, you might even want to develop your own monthly
e-newsletter like Think, the Hoover ink publication. Keep it mostly
informational and limit the commercial material.

Stay in touch, or renew old ties with friends, family and business
associates
Everyone you know can be a brand ambassador for you, so stay in touch
or reach out to those you haven?t talked with for a while.

Yet another reason for having a monthly newsletter that shares your
expertise.

The network of contacts you have built over your lifetime will be
instrumental if you decide to start your own business, or change jobs.

So, heed this word of advice: always deal fairly with people. One bad
experience with your brand can negate 10 positive ones.

Now, get out there and start branding.

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