Everyone has a personal brand, yet many do not realise it -let alone do anything to build and leverage their brand to support their career success and personal life! It’s astonishing how many people don’t even believe they have one!! If you are have a pulse and breathe oxygen, then you have a personal brand and it’s time you see what its saying about you and to leverage it to your advantage.
To start off this process, we need to take a look at some areas of your life which can affect your personal brand:
Now this may appear to be quite a long list…and some may have been unpopular- but hold your judgement for now as we assure you they are all very relevant. Every action we do, adds to the layers of who we are and what people perceive us to be. When it comes to your career, you are the product. You are marketing and selling yourself to the world and the world is judging every step you make. Being congruent is key!
So, the key here is to decide what you want to be perceived as, and really think about that for a moment. What do you want your personal brand to say about you? Then you need to assess how you are currently perceived? Where are the gaps? We all tend to have gaps, as we are all human and have areas of our lives we are working to improve. So don’t beat yourself up if you are realising there is a mis-match of who you want to be and how you are currently perceived.
HOW OTHERS PERCEIVE YOU
This may sound incredibly superficial, but how you look really matters. I am not talking about your dress size, or if you wear designer clothes, what colour your eyes are, or whether you are fashioning the latest and greatest handbag. I am also not talking about being corporate clones with pencil length skirts and the latest in spectacle fashion dresses. You don’t have to lose your authenticity and personal style when we step into work. Absolutely not! In fact, we encourage a sense of personal style and character.
This is about how you pull yourself together, the image that you give off to others, and the appropriateness of how you look for your workplace.
I’m sure there is a considerable number of you sitting there thinking “in a work environment it should not be about how we look, but all about our talents. To some extent we agree. Certainly your talent should play a significant part in your professional brand and credibility for your role. But like it or not, appearance does matter. It tells businesses that you respect the rules, you understand the environment, you are a good representative of the company, and that you are worth investing in.
So, think about how you now want to be perceived? How can you will begin to communicate this through your actions? If you struggle to visualise what you would like your new image to be, use others as reference points. Is there someone in your life who reflects the attributes you wish to demonstrate, as part of your professional or personal brand? Perhaps they aren’t even someone you know, but someone whom you look up to from afar. How do they present themselves in a way that ensures they reflect the qualities you are after? Once you have figured that out, you can model yourself on them, as a starting point. From here, slowly but surely your own image and personal brand will begin to grow on its own.
SEEK TO BE WORTH KNOWING RATHER THAN WELL KNOWN
To have great personal brand you also need to harness and build your skills and knowledge. The key is to not only build them, but become known for them, in a way that differentiates you from everyone else.
Remember—be specific! If you think you can be known for everything, you run the risk of being known for nothing at all. I know lots of stuff: business strategy, marketing, branding, change management, culture, leadership, positive psychology, coaching, wellness, yoga teaching, how to demolish a cupcake in three seconds—you get the drift. But, what I want to be known for is what I am most passionate about—helping individuals and organisations to create a positive change. So get clarity, build your deep expertise, and then you can make a big song and dance of it to others.
IT’S ALL ABOUT BEHAVIOUR
Lastly, and most importantly…When you are thinking about how you want your ‘fabulous’ new brand to be perceived, you have to think about your actions and behaviours. There is no point dressing professionally and attending multiple management training courses to ensure you are ready for the next promotion, while being late everyday to work or using offensive language. What you are known for is as much about how you do what you do, as it is about what you actually do. So, have a bit of a behaviour audit and check to make sure that your current behaviour is in line with your ‘fabulous’ new personal brand.