Personal Brand

by Dawn Bentley

Common questions

  1. What factors contribute to a personal brand?
  2. How often should you re-assess your brand?
  3. How do you promote your brand?
  4. How do you develop your personal brand?
  5. Should everyone have a personal brand?
  6. What are the pitfalls to developing a personal brand?
  7. What are the benefits of having a personal brand?

 

1. What factors contribute to a personal brand?

A personal brand, or your personal brand, is everything that you are, whether you are aware of it or not. It’s what people see, hear and feel when you walk into a room and is therefore made up of the following elements:

  • Your skills and experience; the cognitive skills that enable you to do the work you do
  • Your behaviours, which are driven by your values and beliefs and goals
  • Your personal appearance – what you wear and how you look, the latter being not just your grooming, but how you sit, stand, walk and talk.

What is the positive impact you want to create? How can you use all of these to create the maximum impact?

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2. How often should you reassess your brand?

The assessment of your brand is a continual process, or at least it should be. After all, it’s about you, your reputation and how you are coming across. People are assessing you every minute of the day, whether they know you or not, in work and out of work, whether you are in a restaurant, on a train, at the coffee machine or in a meeting.

You can easily assess your brand at the end of everyday by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What was the impact I created today?
  • Does this fulfil my brand?
  • What will I do differently tomorrow/next time to build my brand and be consistent?

There are also key events which can trigger a fuller review of your brand, such as your annual appraisal, applying for a new job, promotion or redundancy.

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3. How do you promote your brand?

The simplest way to promote your brand is to be ‘out there’. Get yourself noticed. In work, that may mean speaking up in meetings, taking on extra responsibility, volunteering for projects and making presentations. People often do very good work and then never tell anybody. If you are one of these people, you are missing opportunities to promote and enhance your brand. It’s no good just assuming that your efforts will be noticed, so don’t be a shrinking violet. Find opportunities to demonstrate your experience and successes.

Additional ways that you can do this are to explore which networks it would be beneficial to be part of, both internal to the organisation and externally. Which professional bodies do you want to belong to; are there opportunities for you to write for one of their magazines or present at a conference? Is there an in-house journal you can write an article for? Who can you rely on to promote you and how can you help these people do an even better job?

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4. How do you develop your personal brand?

Developing your brand is a continuous cycle of

  • Deciding who you are
  • Deciding who you are becoming
  • Identifing the gaps between 1 and 2?
  • Developing a marketing campaign

Then going back to step one

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5. Should everyone have a personal brand?

Whether we like it or not, each of us has a brand. The question is whether yours is what you want it to be. We are endlessly engaged in situations at work and in our personal life where we are ‘on parade’ and every day we have encounters that contribute to the way people see us. One encounter may not shape an opinion; however, the cumulative effect or two or three certainly will. The telephone call you have just taken, the call you are about to make, a parent/teacher evening or a party you are attending – each of these represents an opportunity to present yourself and therefore your brand, telling the person or people involved who you are.

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6. What are the pitfalls to developing a personal brand?

The only pitfall is that you may develop a brand which is not really you. That is, it’s too different from who you are and therefore becomes too difficult, so you don’t enjoy the experience. When you are trying to be someone who is too different from your core values and beliefs, you will come across as incongruent and unconfident, so it will appear as though you are not enjoying what you are doing.

Developing a personal brand takes time and personal commitment, which some people may see as a pitfall. You also need to keep asking yourself some hard questions. Others may see it as an ego trip, so you need to be very clear about your objectives.

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7. What are the benefits of having a personal brand?

Developing a personal brand is about determining who you are at your core: in other words, being truly authentic to who you are, rather than inventing a brand reflecting who you would like to be. The benefits of this are many and the overriding reward is that you will enjoy what you do and come across as confident in doing it. This, in and of itself, will build confidence – and confidence breeds yet more confidence.

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