As marketers, we spend significant resources branding our products and services so that they successfully compete and thrive in the marketplace. Yet, many of us overlook the importance of branding ourselves. Yes, you too are a brand and it’s critical to build your personal brand in order to compete, thrive and stand out in the workplace.
Where did the concept of personal branding originate? Perhaps it was officially launched by Tom Peters’ Fast Company article, “The Brand Called You” which opens stating: “It’s a new brand world. Big companies understand the importance of brands. Today, in the Age of the Individual, you have to be your own brand. Here’s what it takes to be the CEO of Me Inc.”
What exactly is a personal brand? Essentially, it is your reputation built on:
- How you act — everything communicates.
- What you do — expertise, specialty, strategic skills, creativity, leadership.
- Your track record delivering on your promise — reliability, consistency, quality of work.
A personal brand provides a platform that enables you to shine within your industry, discipline and community. It presents an opportunity to define and differentiate yourself. As Tom Peters says, “You can’t move up if you don’t stand out.”
So where to begin? Personal branding is a process, not a project. Follow these three steps to gather information, make decisions and take action that best positions you for success.
Step 1: ASK
- Conduct a self-assessment of your distinctive skills, qualities, preferences and accomplishments, as well as what you are most proud of.
- Use formal tools – secured or adapted from HR materials — to ask others for honest feedback.
Step 2: ASSESS
- Be genuine and realistic as you determine 1) how you want to be positioned, 2) what sets you apart from others and 3) value you have to offer.
Step 3: ACTIVATE
- Develop an action plan and subtly promote yourself by increasing your visibility through superior job performance, meaningful volunteer and mentoring activities and memorable thought leadership efforts.
To learn more about personal branding, attend the next addCHANGE to Your Life networking event on May 13 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at Figo Restaurant in Atlanta to hear from Julie Crow, principal, Interplay Consulting which specializes in strategy and branding solutions.