The following is from the July 15, 2007, edition of The Dallas Morning News.

Personal branding means sell yourself

Identify your strengths and unique skills – and make sure others know them, too

The Dallas Morning News

It seems like common sense.

Personal branding: Identify the unique things about yourself and market them to your employer.

It's more than self-improvement; it's self-packaging. Think Oprah. Jack Welch. Martha Stewart. Bill Gates.

It's become a hot topic in the business world.

Victoria Tashjian and Margo E. Bane Woodacre realized this in the early 1990s. These days, they go around the country discussing personal branding with audiences in the job market. On Wednesday, they were in Las Colinas for a seminar on leadership development and executive coaching.

The women take a two-pronged approach: Ms. Tashjian focuses on the marketing of unique skills; Ms. Bane Woodacre covers self-awareness and image.

In coaching folks on personal branding, Ms. Tashjian looks at personality attributes, promise and what she calls mindspace.

Regarding personality, "I ask my clients this question: 'What are the things in your personality that push people towards you? What pushes people away from you? We want to accentuate those things that push people towards you."

As for promise, she said, "we all have positive and negative brand promises. For example, someone might have good ideas but never returns phone calls. We want the people you interact with to experience the pluses."

Personal branding, said Daniel Howard, chairman of the marketing department at Southern Methodist University's Cox School of Business, "got its start in product branding. Marketing folks used to ask: If this product is a person, how would you describe it?

"Now we're asking people to think of themselves as products, or brands."

But not everyone's enthusiastic about it. "There's some utility in the personal branding concept," said Mr. Howard. "However, "I'm not convinced it's not a fad."

Instead, he said, "personal branding has become a unique way of describing what we already know. We've always known that a person's character traits are unique to him.

"What's being done now is just transporting what used to be described as product marketing to human beings."

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