Seven Branding Gurus on How to Build a Personal Brand

Last Updated Mar 17, 2010 11:33 PM EDT

Personal branding is a relatively new concept. Management guru Tom Peters only coined the term in 1997, and at the time most people still viewed image-building strategies as the purview of celebrities. With the explosion of social technologies, however, many professionals began seizing the opportunities to enhance their reputations. So where should you start in building your own brand? Here are seven strategies from top marketing gurus who are elevating branding to a fine art:

1. David Meerman Scott: Own Your Google Results


Known for his bestseller, The New Rules of Marketing And PR, Scott understood early in his career that he needed to stand out online. If you Google "David Scott," a US Congressman from Georgia ranks first, and a marketing expert, as popular as he may be, can't compete with a national pol. Scott's solution: He branded himself as "David Meerman Scott" instead of just "David Scott." Google that name, and his content shows up first. [photo credit: CC Chapman]
2. Seth Godin: Stand Out from the Pack
A self-described change agent and the author of several bestsellers, including Linchpin, Godin writes a popular blog and is a sought-after speaker due to his consistently iconoclastic thinking. He argues that in an increasingly competitive global economy, doing good work simply isn't enough. Professionals need to make themselves "indispensable" by being willing to stand apart from the herd and voice their unexpected insights. [photo: Joi Ito]
3. Tim Ferriss: Get People Talking About You
The 4-Hour Workweek author is the master of creating buzz, using online media as well as traditional mainstream media to turn his book into a bestseller. While Ferris was interviewed on the Today Show, he says that a review by a single influential blogger, Robert Scoble, is what really got his book to the number-one spot on the Amazon bestseller list. In fact, since online content never disappears, a mention on a blog can have a long shelf life, helping you to market your brand long after a book or product's release. [photo: Tim Ferriss]
4. Steve Rubel : Attach Yourself to a Bigger Brand
As a blogger, Rubel is one of the thought leaders in the social-media space. He's also a senior vice president for Edelman Digital, the online division of the public relations giant. By working for a well-recognized and respected brand, he gained instant credibility and quickly became a prime media source for wisdom on the industry. [photo: Steve Rubel]

5. John Jantsch: Focus, Focus, Focus


Jantsch has built a successful consulting business, Duct Tape Marketing, helping develop marketing solutions for small businesses. The secret to his success: He focused relentlessly on this niche, came up with a catchy name for his brand, and put the name on his blogs, books, columns, and workshops. [photo: John Jantsch]

6. Gary Vaynerchuk: Be Nice to Everyone


Through his video blog, Wine Library TV, Vaynerchuk expanded his liquor business and became a social media guru, publishing the career book Crush It! Gary's personal credo -- be kind to everyone -- infuses his stores, book, and blog, and as a result he's attracted a large following of devoted fans. [photo: vaynermedia.com]
7. Keith Ferrazzi: Give Before You Receive
If you want to build a strong network -- people who passionately support and believe in you -- you must be generous, says Ferrazi, a business relationship consultant and the author of the best-selling book about networking Never Eat Alone. Instead of asking people for favors, ask, "What can I do for you?" You'll be amazed at how many acquaintances will turn into fans. [photo: keithferrazzi.com]