Want a sure-thing investment? Invest in yourself. This may include taking care of your health, learning new skills or increasing your education level. Your investment reflects the image you want to portray to the world. That is your "brand".

The book, "Managing Brand You", by Jerry S. Wilson and Ira Blumenthal details steps for personal branding success. It applies the same branding concepts makers of consumer products use to control their brands to people. In this world of Facebook, Linkedin and other social media, controlling your personal brand has never been more important. Listed below are methods for managing your brand.

Life Goals

The recent recession may have changed your views about who you are. A middle-class suburban professional or an entry-level urban dweller may both experience a mismatch between who they currently are and who they want to be. For example: if you believe you are "middle income", you want all the stuff you think middle income folks have (a house, 2 cars, 2.4 kids, etc). Other examples include: buying your dream car even if you can't afford it, struggling to pay the mortgage on a condo in order to live in your favorite part of town, and buying a club membership to prove that you can.

Wilson and Blumenthal suggest setting goals and constructing a roadmap to where you want to be. Life goals translate into financial goals as the journey either costs money or involves sacrificing financial gains. (Learn more in Life Planning - More Than Just Money.)

Career Control

With national unemployment rates running around 10%, it's tempting to feel like you have no control over your career. You may believe you are qualified for a job, but don't have the skills, knowledge, or experience employers are looking for. To find a new job, workers have to develop a new self image and tweak their existing brand to become employable or start their own business. That process means taking a leap of faith to adapt or change careers.

You may not be able to dictate exactly what your job title currently is, but you can manage your image by the way you perform your job. For example: if you are an entry-level worker, show enthusiasm and interest in company activities. If you used to be a mid-level manager and are now a contract worker, perform above and beyond expectations to impress your customers. (For more, read Starting A Small Business In Tough Economic Times and Tips To Beat Tough Interviews.)

Lifestyle Choices

Lifestyle choices impact your degree of fulfillment. Lifestyle includes everything from your favorite restaurants to leisure activities to where you choose to live. Commercial marketers create trends. You can do this too. For example: instead of standing in line to get into that extra expensive night club, invite as many people as you know out for a night of bowling. If you do it on a regular basis, it will be come the "in thing to do" for you and your friends. Think of other ways to resist following the crowd and display a style others would want to imitate. Finding a niche is more important if you are a business owner.

Guerrilla Marketing

Once you know who you want to be, tell everybody. Marketing gurus create marketing plans that include internet ads, radio ads, celebrity endorsements, etc. that all use the same motto and logo to support their product brand. You can do the same thing with a personal business card, all of your online profiles, personal websites and blogs, and the way you introduce yourself. If you use your personal motto often enough, your co-workers, friends and family will use it to describe you. (Learn more about advertising in Advertising, Crocodiles And Moats).

Your brand determines your definition of success, and how you manage your brand impacts that success. Don't leave it to chance. Take control of who you are.

Related Articles
  1. Budgeting

    Lost Your Job? 6 Things to Do Immediately

    If you’ve lost your job, shoring up your finances as best you can will make it easier to get back on your feet again when that next position rolls around.
  2. Professionals

    Broker Or Trader: Which Career Is Right For You?

    Both brokers and traders buy and sell securities, but there are some subtle differences between the two careers.
  3. Professionals

    Financial Career Options For Professionals

    A career in finance can take a business professional down many different paths.
  4. FA

    The Basics of The Series 79 Exam

    Passing the Series 79 exam is usually necessary for anyone who wants to work in investment banking.
  5. Professionals

    10 Steps To A Career In Hedge Funds

    The first step to getting your hedge fund career started is to be sure you really want to work for a hedge fund. If you do, it’ll show in your actions.
  6. Professionals

    Business Analyst: Job Description & Average Salary

    Learn the different types of business analyst careers available; understand the skills and education needed and the salary you can expect to make.
  7. Entrepreneurship

    How To Make Money With Domain Names

    Domain names are hot commodities in today’s tech-centric world, and for good reason.
  8. Professionals

    How To Get A Job On Wall Street

    Although Wall Street has its share of problems, finding people who want to become traders isn’t one of them.
  9. Professionals

    Financial Analyst: Job Description & Average Salary

    Understand the types of career paths you can take as a financial analyst, and learn the education and skills you need to launch a career in this field.
  10. Entrepreneurship

    Top Resume Strategies For New Grads In Finance

    Your resume is the key to getting that first great job out of college. Here’s how to get it noticed.
  1. Does a financial advisor need an MBA?

    Obtaining a license as a financial adviser does not require an Master's of Business Administration (MBA) degree. The Certified ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How can an investment banker switch to a career in corporate finance?

    It's pretty easy for an investment banker to switch to a career in corporate finance. The career skills are easily transferable, ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What are the benefits of hiring a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) to be my financial ...

    A Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) has successfully passed rigorous coursework in the fields of economics, financial analysis, ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How do I get started with a career in asset management?

    The asset management industry has a variety of different career paths. Depending on what asset management area you would ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. For which kind of jobs is having Magnum Cum Laude most important?

    Having a magna cum laude degree is most important for jobs in the fields of finance, management consulting and engineering. ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Other than accounting, what does a corporate finance job involve?

    While a corporate finance job almost always involves accounting in some capacity, there are many additional job duties and ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Harry Potter Stock Index

    A collection of stocks from companies related to the "Harry Potter" series franchise. Created by StockPickr, this index seeks ...
  2. Liquidation Margin

    Liquidation margin refers to the value of all of the equity positions in a margin account. If an investor or trader holds ...
  3. Black Swan

    An event or occurrence that deviates beyond what is normally expected of a situation and that would be extremely difficult ...
  4. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  5. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
Trading Center