A Personal Brand
You don’t have a choice
You cannot choose whether you want a personal brand, you already have one. You cannot avoid personal branding. There is no such thing as neutral branding. If you engage with people (Individuals or companies), every touchpoint, in some way, influences the overt characteristics of your personal brand – every time. This is the case whether you are the local store manager or a global icon.
The more meaningful question is not whether you should develop a personal brand, as many articles allude to, but rather, how do you manage your inevitable, existing personal brand?
Your brand, or public persona, represents the perceptions and experiences connected to you (values, ideas, quality, positioning, personality, expectations, etc.). Your brand both creates, and reinforces, associations. What, if any, are the consequences of being indifferent towards your own brand, i.e. doing nothing?
The “always-on” nature of the online world we operate in, means there is a good chance that many of your first interactions will (a) not be in person and (b) you might not even be present or know about it. Your brand has value and that value can change. The characteristics, attributes, and benefits of your personal brand are, in essence, similar to that of a company’s brand. Personal brands tend to illicit associations on an emotional level, compared to job titles where the association is more on an intellectual level. By doing nothing, your perceived value or positioning, in the market, your company, your community, etc., will pretty much run its course with little or no influence from you. If you are okay with this, well, then do nothing.
If you want to play an influential and active role in influencing the value of your personal brand, without spending hours and hours on this, here are some thoughts.
Personal branding involves fostering a reputation for the things you want to be known for, and acting in a manner so you are known for them. Don’t be daunted, there are two relatively simple activities that, if you apply them, will ensure that you are proactively playing a role in your public persona’s worth.
Firstly, refine your Personal Value Proposition. The good news is that you probably don’t have to create it from scratch, as you are probably already aware of most of the things you want to be known for. I prefer the Geoffrey Moore format.
Secondly, make it your business to ensure that the core messages outlined by your Personal Value Proposition are reflected, and supported, through all your interaction and touchpoints, i.e., how you show up and engage. (Communication, online, F2F, meetings, platforms, etc.)
Stick to your guns. Remember results take time.
Happy Personal Branding!