We already know that personal branding is important. It allows you to differentiate yourself and to readily convey the value that you can bring to the table to solve problems when needed. We also know that personal branding is an individual thing. In other words, your personal branding strategy does not have to match those of the other people around you who may be doing the same thing. Instead, it requires you to be clear about who you are and who you are not. You want to be aware of what you are willing to do and what you are not.
To get started in developing and managing your personal brand, you need to start with awareness. Awareness of self, first and foremost. To get some of that information you can choose to do two things; talk to those around you and spend time in self-introspection. To get a sense of how you are currently viewed, you can:
- Ask people who you trust and whose perspective you will consider as honest and truthful to tell you what they think of you. Ask them to tell you:
- what they think you are good at.
- what they think is your superpower.
- what is one thing that they think you do better than anyone else.
- Spend time analyzing yourself. Identify:
- the things that you do which come easily to you.
- the things that you are being consistently complimented for doing.
- the comments that people consistently say to you about yourself.
- the reactions people have around you and recognize that if you are of the opinion that you are a friendly and easy going person, but the people around you are reluctant to talk to you or come to you with their problems, you may want to re-evaluate your behavior to determine if you are effective in conveying your intent.
So you need to be honest with yourself about who you are. Once you have done this, then you need to spend some time in deciding what you want your brand to be and clarifying the message that you want to convey. To do this you can also start with a series of questions. Here are a few that you can use:
- What kind of reaction do you want people to have when your name comes up?
- When potential employers, colleagues, direct reports or customers communicate about who you are and what you do, what do you want them to say?
- What do you want to accomplish?
- What do you want to be known as?
- What is your uniqueness and value?
To be successful at branding, you need to be aware of how those around you are viewing you. This is excellent information to start with. While it is true that you have no control over what people think of you, you do have control over the image you are conveying. Examining the perception that they already have allows you to know how effective you are being right now and what you need to change to achieve what you intend.
You have the power to make the message clear and consistent. You also need to be persistent and continuously push that image out into the world. If we want to be successful we need those who are the decision makers, our colleagues, our customers and our direct reports to have a clear understanding of who we are and what is important to us.
Marjorie Wharton is a trainer, facilitator and coach who works with individuals and organizations to help them improve their performance. She is based at the Sagicor Cave Hill School of Business in Barbados. For more of her writing visit https://marjoriewharton.live