Brand New Year. Brand new you.

Did you make any resolutions as the clock ticked over into 2011? If you did, I bet improving your personal brand wasn’t one of them. Yet it could be one of the most important things you do this year. Increasingly, with the proliferation of social networks, personal branding is something we all need to be mindful of. And if you don’t believe me or think it’s something only for the Beckhams or Gagas, ask any recruitment agent worth their salt and they’ll tell you that after giving a candidate’s CV the once over the next place they check them out is online.

So that picture of you on Facebook throwing up at the office Christmas party; the swearing and poor spelling on twitter and the lack of recommendations on Linkedin tell a truer tale.

It’s also a way to build reputation and influence amongst your peers, so if you’re constantly whinging or bitching, beware.

So this year, make just one resolution: to smarten up brand you. At Fleming Steele we have a unique 15-point personal branding plan. Here are my top 5 suggestions from it:

1. Find a niche

What are you good at? What area of expertise can you dominate? By trying to appeal to everyone, you will get listened to by no one. So try to be focused.

2. Differentiate

So you’ve found your niche. Now what makes you different and special and worth listening to?

3. Be consistent

Trust comes from familiarity with how you speak and behave. And trust builds brands.

4. Borrow Equity.

If you are unknown in your field, find someone with a higher profile and get to know them. Interview them for your blog or simply befriend them on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin. Their kudos will rub off on you and the halo effect will propel your own brand upwards.

5. Be yourself.

There’s no point pretending to be someone you’re not. You’ll get found out soon enough. Just ask Mr Woods.

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Jaime Steele

Jaime specialises in brand strategy, creative concepts, naming strategies, digital media marketing and technical project management. He has a strong background in delivering and managing social media and digital marketing campaigns for both small start-ups and blue chip companies.

He has also worked with many top professional athletes, advising on personal branding, sponsorship and social media.