How To Develop Your Personal Brand - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog


How To Develop Your Personal Brand

Nowadays, developing your public persona is more important than ever.


What’s in a brand? Personal branding is hailed as one of the most effective strategies to get ahead in the corporate race. By learning how to package yourself in a way that highlights your most positive traits and strengths, you widen your opportunities toward personal, corporate and financial growth. You also multiply your chances of attaining personal success and happiness infinitely.

How To Develop Your Personal Brand

S Renee Smith

S Renee Smith has been in the speaking industry for six years, but in this short period she has reached thousands worldwide with her message of self-empowerment and personality accountability. She is no newbie as a life coach and branding specialist, however, bringing nearly 20 years of experience in image, brand and self-development. She is the author of There Is More Inside – Personal Essential Needed To Living A Power-Packed Life and The Bridge To Your Brand-Likeability, Marketability, Credibility, a radio and television show host, a community leader and spokesperson, a model and an actress. In Buffalo, New York, July 17, 2010 has been named S Renee Smith Day by Mayor Byron W Brown.

Urbanette Magazine speaks to S Renee about transformation and the power of branding.

Urbanette Magazine: You’ve been in the public eye for a very long time. What made you decide to focus on image development and branding as a career?

S Renee Smith: Image and branding were a natural progression after being a model for over 10 years, a television host, producer and spokesperson for nearly five years, and a public relations director.

How To Develop Your Personal Brand

Urbanette: What are its rewards and challenges?understanding of how the media and advertisers use images to attract, control and engage an audience around a person, product or idea. It is a powerful concept and personal branding is a tool that I found intriguing and helpful to those who wanted to get noticed. I knew this knowledge could change the rules of the games and would add value to people who had been overlooked in any area of their life.

S Renee: The rewards are plentiful so I’ll just share a few.

1. Receiving feedback.

Feedback lets me know that I’m getting results, living my purpose and building my brand. It’s gratifying to have a 95 per cent plus client base call me for additional services. The surveys or unsolicited calls and emails that warrant the callbacks are also encouraging. And, of course, the words of affirmation that bring meaning to the results: “Employee performance is up.” “You were a part of helping us retain our students.” “I got the job!” “My boss recognized me today.” “My husband is taking notice of me.” “You saved my life.” and “Thank you.”

2. Being compensated.

Being paid for what you do identifies you as a professional in that industry. I like the feeling of a company seeking my expertise for their problem. It makes me feel valuable. When I’m called and compensated, I know it’s not about politics; it’s about results. Being paid for my services also allows me to continue to grow and expand — and do a few activities that I enjoy. For example: playing golf.

3. Flexibility of time.

Being an entrepreneur is hard work and long hours, but I enjoy having the flexibility to serve family and friends, serve on boards in the community, and attend events that help others and build community.

Here are a few challenges:

1. Handling rejection and unintentional disrespect.

In my seventh year of business, I’ve overcome a lot of obstacles, but I still have internal and external conflicts, especially when I have a slow month. Or, when I’ve made 20 calls and no one has called me back – yet. Not to mention, the ones who make commitments to move on a project, but never return your call to tell you that they’ve changed their mind — that tap dances on my last nerve. To get back in sync, it requires me turn to my faith and vision for strength.

2. Staying abreast of technology and new business strategies.

How To Develop Your Personal BrandI serve a live- and Internet-based audience. At times, trying to stay connected with both audiences can be a juggling act and overwhelming. Technology changes constantly and rapidly. It can sometimes seem like there’s not enough hours in a day to write development programs, books, a blog, create new business, serve current client base, connect with new opportunities, interview and hire the right sub-contractors and the list goes on.

3. Knowing what path to take and having the courage to take it.

There are so many different paths to get to the same place that, at times, it can be challenging to make a decision on which path is right. Like many people, I get numerous emails and calls from people seeking to get their agenda met, and, at times, it may resemble where I want to go, but I have to ask myself: Will it hit the target? Making that distinction isn’t always easy especially if it means more of what you may be looking for. You have to quickly know the difference between a nicely-cleaned window and an open door.

Urbanette: What is the power of motivation and why do you think people take workshops to feel it?How To Develop Your Personal Brand

S Renee: I don’t think there is much power in external motivation. Motivation comes from within. People have to have their own motive to want to take an action. I do, however, believe that people can be inspired or transformed if they are self-motivated and want to change.

Here’s why I took on the title of motivational speaker. When I entered the business nearly seven years ago, the stock market hadn’t collapsed, the housing market hadn’t bust and jobs weren’t lost — yet. We were still in a state of arrogance and self-proclaimed success.

Although that has never been my personal mantra or message, I didn’t think the title inspirational or transformational speaker would cause people to ring my phone. Therefore, I went with motivational speaker as a title. However, because of my speaking style my brand is inspirational or transformational speaker.

I think people enroll in a workshop for one reason only — they have a problem and they want an answer.

How To Develop Your Personal BrandUrbanette: What’s in a “brand”? How important is it and what are the elements of a good brand?

S Renee: A person’s brand is essential to their success because it determines how people react to them. A strong brand causes people to stop and take notice because they are made to think and feel good about the person or themselves through that person.

A nicely crafted brand plainly provides a solution to a specific problem. The following is a brief description of a three-tier pillar that helps one to build a brand:

A clearly defined mission. A brand should be built on what you’ve been sent to earth to do — your life’s purpose. I believe your purpose is your passion. To identify your life’s mission, ask yourself: Why am I here?

A message that relates to your audience. A message that relates and brings value to your audience is paramount in brand building and management. It should relate to the needs or desire of your targeted audience. To distinguish what you message should be, ask yourself: Where am I a gateway to?

Consistent Results. Your value is assessed based on the results that you get. Consistent results build trust between you and your audience. A strong brand relies on its results to bridge the gap between its audience and itself. To put a price on your value, ask yourself: What results do I create?

How To Develop Your Personal BrandThe diagram, which can be found in The Bridge to Your Brand:

Likability, Marketability, Credibility with a full explanation provides a visual to help people to understand the natural progression to brand building.

– Understanding of self.
– Defining ones purpose.
– Creating results that yields followers.

Urbanette: Are there more women than men at these workshops?

S Renee: My experience is that gender attendance depends on where I speak and what I’m speaking about. For example: Branding does not have a gender preference, but a workshop on building self-confidence seems to speak to a female dominant audience.

Urbanette: Does gender play a role in one’s tendency to build inspiration through group dynamics?

How To Develop Your Personal BrandS Renee: I haven’t done the research, however, experience tells me that it’s not based on gender. Here’s why: Inspiration is arousing someone to act on something. It’s often used as a spiritual term to denote in spirit, which means that through Spirit one is caused to act. There is a good spirit and bad spirit. When we look at gangs, fraternities, sports, and other male only groups that gather for the purpose of inspiring one another to action, regardless of what the action is, I think we see that men and women use group dynamics to build the courage, confidence, understanding and support of how to act and what to act on.

Urbanette: How do you prepare for every engagement?

S Renee: I meditate. I always ask God, “Why am I being sent here (wherever here is)? ” “What message do you want them to walk away with?” “How do you want me to present that message.”

Urbanette: How do you avoid feeling burned out?

S Renee: I keep my personal space clear and full of positive energy. My work invigorates me, but there are times that negative people and situations creep into my personal space—now that’s makes me feel burned out. Once I clean house, I feel alive, again.

Urbanette: The workshops are all aimed at making people feel better about themselves and inspiring them to do well with their lives. What does it mean to be fulfilled and complete?

S Renee: Being fulfilled and complete means different things to different people. My goal is to help people to find their passion, confidently and courageously live on purpose while becoming more likeable, marketable and creditable. I believe that when we have a voice, regardless of where we stand (in the home, at work, in the community) and know that people care enough to listen to what we have to say—we find fulfillment.

Urbanette: What is the role of the personal coach?

S Renee: Personal coaches define their own role for being a personal coach and the value that they will bring to the life of their clients. My role as a personal coach is to safely guide my clients across and through difficult personal, professional and spiritual transitions while helping them to create new opportunities.

Urbanette: Finally, what happens after the workshops? Do you still meet up with previous workshop goers and catch up?

S Renee: Since most of my clients are repeat clients, I see them again at another presentation. Workshop participants also stay connected through FREE audio downloads at or Or, they register to get weekly text messages by texting 55469 and putting in the code word: Passion or I Lead. Then there are books and coaching services that audiences take advantage of. There is also Facebook, LinkedIn and webinars. In today’s world, it’s easy to stay connected.

Originally from Denver and now living in NYC, Angie has been writing since she was small. She lives in the Flatiron district with her partner Tanya and their mutt Sparky (always adopt!) In her spare time she loves to paint (mostly abstract) and talk to random people on the street to find out what’s interesting to them.

Reader Discussion: 9 Comments

  1. Grace Stirling

    This also applies in managing a business. Have you already established your brand? What are you promoting? Knowing first your brand is a very essential. You need to know first your goal with your brand when you are ready to promote your brand in Facebook and it is making you nervous (like introducing your girlfriend to your parents). And because you are also competing with top and popular businesses with over billions of people and users active, social media is a great platform in attracting buyers and businesses around the world. Worry no more! just try making your brand original and unique for them to remember it.

  2. Ashley Moore

    i didn’t know what is my brand at first but after reading this now i know now! thanks! 😀

  3. Esther Earl Harris

    What is most important is to never stop learning. During today’s fast changing, improvement and empowerment of technology you’ll be able to search everything on the web. Are you a job-seeker or a worker looking out for potential job opportunities to advance your career?
    Even if you are a job-seeker or you already have a job and already earning, you should never stop learning. Research what you do not know online, Read articles on how to make business letters, read career advice; you can also get help and advice on job search basics. Visit sites that offer job and career tips.

  4. Kimberly Vigil

    Branding is important! When you have already discovered it; what makes you unique or what makes you different from other people you should enhance and hone it. Base your career on what comes naturally and easily to you, your talents and what you are gifted at. The internet is making it easier for you to find the right job, and for you to connect to the right people that can help you get those jobs.You must be able to separate who you truly are from who you are as a product. Advertise yourself and sell yourself to potential employer when finding a job.

  5. Hazel Collins

    I Love this!Branding is essential to career advancement and development of job-seekers. Identifying your brand starts with clear brand identity and knowing your strengths along with your limitations. Personal branding is showcasing your specialty and understanding who you really are. And what you can do and offer to your audience. If you understand your strengths, skills, and values then you can use this information as an armor to separate yourself from your competitors and really stand out.

  6. These are great tips. Building a personal brand is really important, but it can be tough!

  7. Jen Spillane

    It is really tough to build a personal brand. Thanks for the tips!

  8. Hannah Mayers

    Branding gives you identification. It makes people be reminded of you.

  9. Randie Cadiogan

    Appropriately package yourself! 🙂 

Join in the Conversation! Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *