Archive for October, 2010

In today’s market, branding is everything. No longer is it just corporations and businesses that need to take heed of this advice in order to sell their products, but so too do individuals. The business landscape is changing, and anyone who really wants to get ahead needs to think like a brand manager. So what exactly does this mean?

In short, an individual needs to cultivate an image for themselves that they tirelessly promote through knowledge, experience, visibility and appearance. The idea itself is quite simple although there may be some creativity and ingenuity required to implement it successfully. This article acts as a start up guide for anyone wishing to plan and execute a well thought out “rebrand” of themselves.

Step 1 – What is unique or distinctive about you?

Personal branding is all about standing out. It is easy to become just another worker in just another company without carving out a particular niche for yourself or creating a specific role to play. Think about what service you offer better than anyone else. To make this an altogether easier process, start by defining a list of qualities or character traits that set you apart from your co-workers. Are you reliable or popular with customers? Do you solve problems quickly before they have a chance to wreak havoc? Are you particularly good at explaining tasks or projects to others? From the sublime to the ridiculous, make a list of what makes you, you.

Step 2 – Prepare a list of previous successes

Successes can range from completing a large project on time and on budget to reorganizing the stationary cupboard. Anything and everything that you have done that you are proud of or that added value to the company or the customer should be included in the list. These accomplishments will be important later when you need to promote, promote, promote.

Step 3 – Gain visibility

This does not mean take out an ad in the paper or commission a series of television adverts. Subtlety is the watchword for the next step in this master plan. At this stage you should have defined your “uniqueness” and prepared a list of accomplishments to which you have full bragging rights, now you just need to start promoting these. This is where ingenuity comes into play because there is no end of ways you can enhance or shape your reputation. Getting others to spread a positive word about you is the most efficient way to raise your profile – perhaps there is a project you could volunteer for that gets you working with new people in the organization. Perhaps you could turn yourself into an “expert” by teaching colleagues a certain skill you possess. Put your thinking cap on and there will be plenty of opportunities to execute this part of the plan. Act with confidence and leadership and your reputation with spread.

Step 4 – Be aware that everything matters

From the clothes you wear to how you conduct meetings or write emails, everything is important when it comes to creating a personal brand. Everything you do works together to provide colleagues, competitors and customers with an overall impression of you. You need to be aware of this and conduct yourself accordingly to create the right impression at all times.

Step 5 – Be powerful

Not only must you act confidently, but you should attempt to gain greater power here and there wherever possible. This only requires a small amount of work – perhaps offer to prepare the minutes of the meeting you just attended. By doing this you get the power to choose how the meeting is recorded. You could offer to construct the agendas too – thus allowing you greater power as to what is discussed next time. Little strategic moves here and there will let you garner greater power. So long as you capitalise on this by acting powerfully and with credibility your personal stocks will soar.

Step 6 – Ask for feedback

Companies with products do this all the time. They put together user groups who provide constructive feedback about the product or service they are developing. This enables the company to make tweaks and alterations where necessary in order to better serve the customer. Do the same with your personal brand. Get feedback, comments and ask for input from colleagues and others in your network.

Although this may seem like a lot of work, it is really just a question of making one or two alterations to how you conduct business and interact with others. There may be the odd additional task or project that you need to take on, but any additional work now will pay off ten fold in the future. By applying these steps and acting in a strategic way, you will see great success in your future with your new, personal employment branding.

You should also try and look at situations from a human capital management point of view. What are your bosses looking for? What do they want from you? If you hit the right notes then you could find yourself rising to the top. Effective leadership is a major issue in organizations right now, and finding talent within a company is almost always preferred to buying it in. Who knows, in a few years time you could be making these decisions for the company!