In the corporate world, thinking about, developing and building your personal brand is really important – it defines who you are at work, what values you want to be known for and helps drive your career successes. In the same way as branding for a product or business is defined as how a customer recognises your company or product, personal branding works in the same way and is something you should drive yourself.
How to define your personal brand:
- Think about someone you respect at work and think about how you would describe them to a colleague who had never met them. Identify the top three things that make you admire them. That is their personal brand. Now think about yourself and how people would describe you at work – why not ask your manager or some of your trusted colleagues what key qualities they think you demonstrate in the workplace? Link this to what you consider your strengths to be, what’s important to you in the way you interact with people and what your goals and aspirations are.
- Develop your brand statement – this is essentially like working on a company mission statement – it describes in one or two sentences who you are and what you are about. This is the sentence you would use on your CV in your profile section for example. Think about what you discovered/identified from talking to your colleagues/manager and your strengths, goals and aspirations and use this to start to work on then developing your “brand statement”. Check out these example personal brand statements to help guide you.
- Be true to yourself – each of us has different strengths and weaknesses and diversity is what makes us interesting and leads to a more successful workplace. You spend a lot of time at work and so trying to be something you are not is never going to work – embrace what makes you good at what you do and stick to it!
How to portray and reinforce your brand:
- In the same way as if you, as a customer, has a negative experience with a company, that will affect your view of that brand, so too will your brand be impacted if someone has a not so positive experience at work with you. Remember that statistics show that more people tell someone about a negative experience than a positive one and therefore your brand can easily be brought down by a few lacklustre interactions with your clients/stakeholders.
- Consider your brand when you are setting your objectives for the next 6 – 12 months – your aims and objectives should link in with your brand and give you the opportunity to showcase it.
- Social media – your personal brand should not only be reflected by you in your day to day interactions but also in your corporate social media presence – think LinkedIn especially – ensure that your profile picture is professional, you have included your “brand statement” and everything you write, comment on, share, like is consistent with you and your brand values.