Most things, it appears, are being changed in the colliding worlds of business, communications, media, politics, and this is directly impacting how brands are built today. With all of these changes it makes having the strongest brand possible a necessity, not a luxury that is reserved for the larger companies or the rich and famous. In order to succeed today, you need an extremely well defined brand just to stay in the game and one way to accomplish this is to build a personal brand.

Most brand experts agree that a brand is a name, term, design, or other feature that distinguishes one seller’s product from others.

For a personal brand, this makes your message and brand story you. There are gobs of articles written on ‘brand’ – just Google the word brand and you will receive 1,710,000,000 results! To save you some time, here are a few principles to help you build yours:

Figure out what makes you so distinctive and different than everyone else and make that your core strategy. In order to pitch yourself comfortably and effectively, you must first know what makes you such a good choice and it has to come from what are truly your strengths. When you are reaching out to people they can feel what is real and what is not, so you never want to try and fabricate an image you are not. This is probably the most important principle for building a personal brand. Make it real.

Stand for something you believe in and others will want to believe with you. Who you are, or your core values, constantly helps you make decisions on all sorts of levels from family to business to finance and everything else going on in your world. When you take the time to figure out just exactly what is going to guide all of your decisions it makes making decisions much easier. This gives you more time to build your brand because you have a clear values compass to guide all of your steps.

Help others first before you help yourself. This probably sounds counter-intuitive to what you might have learned as you earned your MBA but in point of fact people help people who help them. Think about it. If you had two people calling on you for business and one was asking how they could be of help to you personally and the other was running through their features and benefits, who would you want to work with? Once you’ve made a friend, two things happen. Your business will increase and you’ll have a new friend for life.

You are best defined by what you stand for and what you don’t. Knowing what you most believe in and making that your constant message will separate and differentiate you over time. Personal brands have the ability to grow quickly into leadership brands because they typically have a singular point of view that is easier to communicate and find others that have the same interests.

As you create and develop your business, and as you enlarge your circles of influence and excellence, a profound benefit will occur when you bring much more focus, intensity and definition to everything you say and do because it’s communicating what you truly believe in–. They’ll feel it and respond favorably because they find true meaning in who you are and what you say.