Digital Marketing

How to Best Use a Brand Marketing Firm to Build Your Personal Brand

I was recently cornered by a CEO at a conference who told me his sad tale of working with a brand marketing firm. He complained of money invested, time wasted, and irritations accrued in his personal branding efforts. Even in an online world, building a personal brand can be more complicated than it appears at first glance.

Part of the problem — I explained to my new frustrated friend — was that there is not just one type of brand marketing firm — but 5. If you are engaged in building your personal brand, knowing which type to hire is essential.


#1. Brand Strategists. Need to figure out the big picture of how to achieve your personal brand goals? These firms specialize in sizing up the overall strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to your brand and then, based on research, map out how you can achieve your objectives. For my money, this is an essential first step — even before the development of a logo, website or overall look.

#2. Brand Identity Designers. Looking to create a leading-edge website or collateral for your personal brand? If so, a brand identity firm may be just what you are looking for. Representing everything from graphic designers to web masters, these companies specialize in creating the “look” of a brand. This can include logo, color schemes, typefaces and more.

#3. Internet Marketers. These firms specialize in using the web to generate and convert sales leads. In marketing terms, they help to create an online funnel based on web advertising, keyword search and other social media efforts that enable potential customers to find you.

#4. PR Firms. This is perhaps the most common solution when it comes to building your personal brand. If you are looking for straight-up media placement, then this type of firm may be exactly what you are looking for. Unfortunately, some PR companies have not kept up with the changes in brand management and don’t know how to create and implement a fully integrated branding strategy — even when they say they do.

#5. One-Stop Shops. Building your personal brand strategy is one thing, but getting it implemented is a whole other ball of wax. If you are looking for a single source, an agency or smaller brand implementation firm might be perfect.

While there is no one perfect solution when it comes to creating your personal brand, there are some choices in the brand marketing firm you partner with that are better than others, given your goals, budget, time availability and expertise. Choosing wisely helps ensure that you won’t be the one complaining while standing in the coffee line the next time you attend a conference.

Karen Tiber Leland is the founder of Sterling Marketing Group, a branding & marketing strategy firm helping individuals and companies build stronger brands. She is the best-selling author of The Brand Mapping Strategy: Design, Build, and Accelerate Your Brand. For more information please contact [email protected].

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