“Your personal brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room – remember that and more importantly, discover why.” – Chris Ducker
Creating a personal brand entails having a unique identity for yourself. It should be a true reflection of your core values and depicts how you present yourself, your competencies, your experiences, your work and ideals to your team and clients.
Creating a personal brand is important for all cadres of staff from C-Suite members to graduate hires and interns. Personal branding allows professionals to differentiate and position themselves for the best opportunities in the workplace and industry. It is an avenue for reinforcing one’s value system in career and life.
Your reputation vs Your personal brand
|1||Everyone has a reputation. Your reputation comprises the opinions and beliefs people form about you based on your interactions and collective actions.||Your personal brand is much more intentional. It is how you want people to see you.|
|2||Reputation depicts credibility.||Personal brand depicts visibility and core values.|
|3||Reputation is based on actual interactions with people stemming from your decisions and behaviours.||This is the image you hope to portray and depicts your power to define people’s perception of us.|
Why have a personal brand?
“If people like you they will listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.” – Zig Ziglar
Investing in a personal brand is not about being overly promotional. Investing in a personal brand is about defining the distinctive value that you bring to your career. It enhances professional connections and promotes deeper engagement with colleagues and clients. Properly articulating a personal brand will help others understand your real identity, core values and goals. A personal brand will connect you with opportunities that align with your image.
How can you position your brand to win in the workplace?
- Discover your signature strengths:
Signature strengths are the strongest or most prominent traits in your strengths profile. Signature strengths are qualities that a person enjoys expressing and gives a pointer to one’s positive identity and the way in which they take action in the workplace. You need to ask key questions such as:
- Why do I wake up in the morning to go to work?
- What skills or talents pique my interest the most?
- What skills or talents am I most proud of?
- What kind of projects energize you?
- What are the traits of the people I admire the most?
- In the next 10 years, what do I really hope to have contributed to the world?
This exercise will help you to discover core values, beliefs or goals that are most important to you.
- Carefully articulate initiatives and organizational goals that align with your brand:
After discovering your signature strengths, it is important to know how you can channel those strengths to create value in the workplace. Observe projects within the organization and your department, do they align with your personal values or brand? If so, lend your voice to the initiatives and raise your hand to participate.
You need to find ways to exercise your core values and beliefs and build your brand. Incorporate your interests into your professional development goals so that it becomes a part of your regular workday.
- Build a network of key stakeholders and people with similar values
It is important to have a stakeholder map that helps you identify influencers in your organization and connect with them, formally and informally. This will help you increase your visibility in the organization.
Furthermore, colleagues with similar interests will serve as a good support system to inspire you and serve as a sounding board so you can hone your ideas.
- Be visible for relevant opportunities
Now that you have articulated your vision for your personal brand, identified opportunities within your organization and networks that can help you achieve the desired brand, it is important to stay visible so you can become a magnet for relevant opportunities. Below are some tips on how to build visibility for your brand to win in the workplace:
- Create and share content through digital platforms. Have a dedicated time slot ( 1 – 2 hrs) for content creation every week. Engage on digital platforms by following pages and individuals that you pique your interest. Repost articles or news that align with your brand on social media channels like LinkedIn and Twitter. Rather than merely “repost,” include your perspective when you post. This will help you get comfortable with content creation and inspire you to create your own articles, social posts and videos.
2023 content marketing statistics on Review42 show that 90% of all marketers use content marketing to generate inbound leads and that content marketing is 3 times more efficient in terms of leads than outbound marketing.
- Develop a rule of thumb that helps you develop yourself and achieve your goals e.g. Ask at least one insightful question at every meeting you attend, do one thing that scares you every day etc.
- Build relationships beyond your immediate team. Interacting with other teams and management will help you contribute more to the business and increases the chances of people promoting your work because they know and trust you.
- Take on speaking engagements at conferences or other value-adding events e.g. TED Talks.
Bear in mind that if you don’t get intentional about your personal brand, others will create it for you. You can never be too busy and it can never be too late to work on your personal brand. Make it part of your everyday work routine and watch yourself flourish in the workplace.