Monday, January 3, 2011

You don't have to be a brand victim... Personal Branding at the January 10 SDForum MarketingSIG

By Mark Helfen

You don't have to be a brand victim...

At next Monday's (January 10) SDForum MarktingSIG meeting the topic will be personal branding. Our speaker, Karen Kang will give some insight in how you can manage your personal brand.

You might think of branding a company, or a product, but you also have a personal brand, whether intentional or not.

Kang is a positioning and brand expert and founder of Karen Kang Consulting. She has experience as a newspaper reporter, with advertising firm BBDO, and was a partner at Regis McKenna. Her practice includes both helping businesses develop their branding, and helping their executives develop their personal brand.

"Some people have a very quiet brand," said Kang. Others have a strong brand, but the image could be positive or negative. Branding that doesn't fit your objectives can hinder your progress.

"Some people guide their brand, but most do not," said Kang. "It's a competitive environment now. People have to differentiate to stand out. 

The idea is to define your own brand, instead of letting other people define you.

There are two parts to your brand  -  rational and emotional components. The rational portion includes your skills, education, and accomplishments. The emotional part is how you connect with people, and could include how you dress, carry yourself, or your energy level.

Kang makes the analogy of a cake. The cake itself is your rational positioning  -  the foundation. The emotional part is the frosting. (Given that this is an SDForum SIG, pizza might be a better model - crust and cheese. I'm not sure where the pepperoni fits....)

Key branding tools will be introduced that can be used assess your current branding, and develop a strategy to align your brand with your professional objectives, along with concrete examples putting the tools to use. At least one volunteer will get their personal brand analyzed as a practical demonstration of how to apply Kang's methodology.

Most people never think about their own brand says Kang. But her methodology will help you figure out the rational and emotional components of your brand, and develop a strategy to align your positioning with your career objectives.

So come by Monday, and you can build your own brand cake. Or pizza.


Mark Helfen is a freelance writer, journalist, and marketing consultant. He can be reached at:



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