We usually think of branding with regards to companies, products, and services. To be sure branding is one of the most critical aspects of marketing in that it imprints a consistent message of what the company, product or service is all about. Everyone knows Nike as “Just Do It” or BMW as “The Ultimate Driving Machine”. A brand needs to permeate everything a company does including its marketing, the way it sells, customer service, and all of its behaviors. Often the branding or tagline is more aspirational than descriptive of what specifically a company or product does. An example of one of my favorites was one Cisco used several years ago, “The Human Network”. Routers and switches aren’t very exciting or sexy but connecting global humanity is.
While companies spend hundreds of thousands and in some cases millions of dollars in creating their brands and branding campaigns, we as individuals and professionals don’t give little to no thought or effort to what our own personal brand is. We don’t think we need to market or package ourselves unless we are looking for a new job or company and even there most miss the point. The truth is a personal brand is the story of you and forms the basis for your reputation. As such it should represent you clearly in all situations with your peers, your direct reports, and your management as well as all of your external relationships.
Personal branding is your message to the entire world of who you are and what you are all about. It should embody your most important values, characteristics, and modes of behavior that define you and all you do. The practice of branding and defining yourself should not be done lightly or in a cursory fashion and under no circumstances should reflect a stereotype or composite of whom you would like to be seen as. It needs to be authentic and strike to the very heart of who you are. To come up with a brand that is authentic, sustainable and if possible differentiated is the goal and that cannot be accomplished without a fair amount of introspection and honesty with oneself. It would also help to have people who know you best at home, work or socially provide you input and when you are ready to validate or critique your branding message.
Your self-assessment includes identifying your key core values and the type of action/activities that excite and motivate you. Your key core values form the basis of “Who You Are” and the actions/activities define the “What You Do”. These should both be supported by examples of your accomplishments and experiences. We have all heard the expression, “your reputation precedes you” and that is what you do with your personal brand, you let people know your capabilities and what they can expect and count on you for. Your personal brand lets you stand out from a crowded field of job candidates, competitors and peers.
For my own personal branding, I worked with a coach who helped me refine and sharpen my brand messaging. I found this to be so valuable to my career that I now offer this as one of my services to others in my own coaching business. For more information please contact me at HyPerformance Sales Coaching.