Belmont University Massey   the Competitive Edge

with William Arruda

Overview/What You Will Learn

Companies promote their brands to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. As a business professional, you need a similar strategy. You need to think of yourself as a brand, your unique promise of value. Find out from William Arruda, personal branding expert, Founder of Reach Personal Branding and Co-Author of Career Distinction: Stand Out by Building Your Brand, why this is important, and what you need to think about and do to create and promote your personal brand.

Key Points

  • Understanding the definition of a brand:  A brand is a unique promise of value. It is based in authenticity – what is truly you, not fabrication - and distinguishes you from your peers. (Think “innovation” for Apple and “safety” for Volvo.) You commit to delivering it with everything you do, and it has value for your target audience.
  • Branding is understanding what makes you exceptional and using it to drive value for your career.  It is knowing what differentiates you. It is being relevant and compelling to people who make decisions about you. 
  • Defining your brand has multiple benefits. It aligns who you are with what you do and how you do it. It brings fulfillment. It helps you achieve your goals. And it reaps financial rewards.  

The Branding Process

Step 1 – Extract

  • Uncover your brand by understanding yourself from two perspectives:
    • Internal – Ask yourself: “Who am I? What is my vision? My purpose? What are my values, passions and goals?”
    • External – Know what others think of you.  Get feedback about what they see as your strengths and greatest attributes, your weaknesses and your personality characteristics?

Step 2 – Express

  • Begin to create visibility and credibility in the real world and online. Make sure the people who need to know you know you. Integrate who you are into everything you do.
  • Practice the “3 Cs”:
    • Clarity – Be clear about who you are and are not.
    • Consistency – Always be who you are and always be clear about it.
    • Constancy – Always be visible to the people making decisions about you.
  • Enhance your visibility and credibility with a media plan. Express the “content” of your plan - what you want to be known for, what your message is to the marketplace, your thought leadership – through a variety of communications tools, such as articles, newsletters, blog, volunteer activities, sponsorships, web, speaking opportunities.
  • Manage your online reputation. This is critical given that:
    • Hiring managers Google prospective candidates;
    • 83% of hiring managers and recruiters research candidates online;
    • There are 11 qualified candidates for every open position.
    • 70% of hiring managers have eliminated candidates based on what Google revealed - or did not reveal - about them. 
  • Measure your online reputation. In addition to volume (how often you appear) and relevance (how consistent the information about you is), there are 3 new measures to consider:
    • Diversity – showing up in a variety of mediums with a variety of information about your brand;
    • Purity – ease of searchers’ ability to find you; and
    • Validation – available testimonials about your expertise.
  • Distribute and promote your brand. Get everyone who needs to know you to see your online content.  You can do this with your own website, through online press release sites, social networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, and personal portals, such as or
  • To measure your own “online ID,” Google yourself and evaluate how well you meet the criteria.

Step 3 – Exude

  • Align your brand with everything around you.
    • Keep your personal appearance, office environment, and brand content all “on brand” – that is consistent with and maximizing your message.
    • Feed” your professional network. Your network extends your brand every day, so share new contacts with your existing network and do so every day.

Your Next Steps / Essential Tips for Building Brand You

  • Uncover your goals. They give your brand direction. Ask yourself what you want to achieve, what kind of company you want to work for, and what you want to be doing every day.
  • Define your vision, purpose, values and passions. What do you want to achieve that’s bigger than you? How will you turn your vision into reality? What are your operating principles that guide you every day? What are the things that excite you? 
  • Get feedback. Ask and research what others think about you and see as your greatest strengths and weaknesses, your personality characteristics.
  • Define what is exceptional about you or what you do, and what you want to be known for. Integrate what you’re exceptional at into everything you do. 
  • Define your target audiences. They include your peers/competitors and the hiring managers, recruiters and everyone who influences those who make decisions about you.
  • Create content for the web, including:
    • Branded Bio – describing your accomplishments and why I want to know you;
    • Headshot – a must for credibility;
    • Thought leadership – your position on topics or relevant issues or how you approach your particular expertise;
    • Video Bio – a major differentiator right now; and
    • Testimonials – let others speak for you and about you.
  • Distribute your brand. There are numerous ways:
    • Your own website;
    • Update your profiles on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Set up your LinkedIn account to send people to your homepage, which contains your profile and bio information;
    • Explore other sites to increase your brand volume and update your bio on as many as possible; and
    • Post videos.  Blended searches mean that now text is accompanied by images and video so viewers can get a multi-dimensional look at you.   
  • Promote your brand by:
    • Publicizing via press release – and distribute to online press release search engines;
    • Repackaging course work or school papers into newsletters, articles, speeches and/or online submissions;
    • Using Twitter and updating your LinkedIn and Facebook status;
    • Using “Digg” and “” to get people excited about what you offer.
    • Using “personal portals” such as or Customize these with your headshot or any image, a stylized version of your name as a logo, your branded bio.  They offer the added benefit of including links to all the social networks where you appear.
  • Ensure your brand is aligned with everything around you.
    • Check your personal appearance, office environment and accessories to ensure they are consistent with who you say you are.
    • Check your Personal brand identity system. Do you have a consistent look and feel to your letters, resumes, videos and presentations? Do you use consistent colors, fonts, images, taglines, etc.?
    • Habitually feed your professional network by posting updates, and sharing news items and contacts.
  • Don’t begin communicating and expressing until you are absolutely clear about your unique promise of value.
  • Make it easy for people to find you.
  • Align your brand environment.  Be consistent with everything you do.

Expert BIO
with William Arruda

William Arruda is an international branding consultant, author and public speaker focused on professional development and executive leadership.  William is the Founder of Reach Personal Branding, the #1 provider of personal branding services to Fortune 500 companies and leading universities, guiding professionals to unearth what makes them exceptional and use their unique gifts and experience to drive value for their career and organization. He lectures and conducts workshops on personal branding at top-tier graduate schools of business, including Harvard, Duke, NYU, Berkeley, Wharton, University of Michigan, UCLA and Cornell. In addition, he lectures and consults to executives at the world's largest corporations including Johnson and Johnson, Price Waterhouse, Sheraton, Microsoft, Disney, Ogilvy and J.P. Morgan.  He is the co-author of Career Distinction: Stand Out By Building Your Brand, a guidebook with the tools managers need to differentiate themselves from their peers and thrive in today’s job market.  William blogs at