Some companies spend millions of dollars each managing the brand image they create with the public. Great care is taken so that the look, feel and message of the brand communicates exactly what the company intends in the consumer’s mind. Rightfully so, as a public relations disaster or negative brand image can quickly put a company out of business. With so much emphasis on money being spent on branding, you might ask, does the same hold for individuals? Can a person have a brand?
In this week’s episode, we’ll explore the notion of individual branding and look at the value of actively cultivating your own personal brand. Whether you call it branding or reputation, your ability to package and “sell” yourself; your talents, skills and the intangible value you bring, to your customers and co-workers is foundational to your long-term success.
PLUS, don’t miss this week’s Take Action Challenge and implement this week’s coaching tips.
Do you manage people? If so, get tools and strategies you need to take the fear out of feedback with my book You Have to Say the Words: An Integrity-Based Approach for Tackling Tough Conversations and Maximizing Performance. You can find the paperback or digital version at Amazon, Barnes & Noble or your local book seller.
So enjoy this week’s episode of The Nimble Leader show. I appreciate you listening and I hope you tune in next week!
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TAKE ACTION CHALLENGE:
To help you stay nimble, here is this week’s Take Action Challenge. Take these 2 action steps this week.
1. I just reviewed with you a 4-step process for developing your personal brand. I've included it for your convenience in the show notes below. In the next week, complete that process; create and articulate your personal brand statement, evaluate how you are currently showing up in the world as a brand, and complete a GAP analysis to determine training and development needs so that you can fully realize your brand.
2. Share your Personal Brand Statement with me and the rest of our community, we’d love to see them! Go to the comments section at the end of the post below or at our Facebook Page.
HERE IS YOUR 4-STEP BRAND BUILDING PLAN:
Step 1: Start by going within
Start by determining your personal vision of who you are and what you want to be known for. Brainstorm and write it all down. Here are some prompts to help you…
- What is it that you want in all areas of your life? Passions? What challenges you?
- What are your values? What attributes describe you?
- Identify the ways you add value. What do you do that adds remarkable, measurable, distinctive value?
- Your unique differentiators that make you who you are and allow you to stand apart from other people in your profession. Where have you dared to be different?
- Strengths/weaknesses, blind spots
- What have you accomplished that you have no problem bragging about? What have you done that has long lasting impact?
Don’t censor yourself, just get down the words, qualities, attributes, skills, and talents that you want to be known for in your personal and professional life. Maybe those two lists are separate for you and that’s fine, which just means you will have a different personal brand from your professional one.
Step 2: Condense and articulate your message
Take everything you’ve written down that describes you and distill it into a couple of sentences or statements that describes how you want people to experience you.
- Create a brand statement. Merge your values, strengths, accomplishments into one or two sentences that says who you are and how you would like to be seen. Brand must be clear, consistent and authentic. Here are some examples: “I use my quirky nature, confidence and passion for fun to motivate teams to work together more effectively to drive greater value for our organization.” And
“I help individuals and companies make the most of talent. I work as a part of the team and am a straight shooter who isn’t afraid to have the tough conversations. I believe in people and their potential, sometimes before they even believe in themselves.”
- Create a Personal tag line or motto – what you stand for? In a couple of words articulate a driving philosophy that you have. Examples might be: “I’ve got your back”, “You are my priority” “You have to say the words.”
- Ask for feedback from people you trust. How do others perceive you? What words would they use to describe you? Share your statement and tag line with them, does it ring true for how they experience you?
- Look back at reviews, what do your managers say are your strengths. A manager told me once that “you are the glue that holds us together”
Step 3: Start Living and Promoting Your brand
Be your best advocate. Market yourself when opportunities present themselves. Create opportunities when they don’t.
- Be intentional about your communication. Work your brand messages into your communications. How do you send general communication (email, voicemail)
- What behaviors match your brand? (innovative, strategic, practical) Make sure you are demonstrating the behaviors that support your brand. If you aren’t there will be a disconnect and people will trust what you do more than what you say.
- Identify disconnects and challenges that might derail you: Stress points, Difference between words and behavior, Lack of current relationship, Resistance to your role as you’ve defined it, Too different from your department or company brand
- Think like a small business. “Self-Promotion” is not a dirty word. Be genuine, sincere, and authentic in highlighting your talents and accomplishments.
- Networking is key. Meet people outside of your team and company Associations, industry groups. Maintain a network of peers, colleagues, mentors, contact and other resources to assist you. The bigger circle you run in the more visibility for your brand.
- Review and evaluate your online brand. LinkedIn profile, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Does it have accurate information? Try "Googling" your name and set up Google Alerts at www.google.com/alerts
Step 4: Perform a GAP analysis.
Perform a GAP analysis between where your current skills are and where your skills need to be to deliver on the promise of your brand
- Know your competencies, skills, strengths, weaknesses, interests and values and assess and evaluate them regularly. Leverage your strengths and uncover potential to be further developed.
- Prepare an action plan that will allow you to fill any gaps between where you are now and what you want to achieve personally and professionally. Be goal-oriented. Establish short and long-term personal and professional goals.
- Find an accountability partner, and Revisit plan to review.
- Keep your knowledge current in your field and your area(s) of expertise. Some areas such as technology see such tremendous change that your knowledge and skills can become outdated in a matter of months. Investigate what skills are in demand, future skills? Where do you fall short? Designations? Certifications? Be well read on current trends and practices in your discipline.
- Seek out mentors, trusted advisers and sponsors and take on these roles for someone else. Build your network and stay close to it.
- Keep a list of your accomplishments. Help your boss correctly evaluate your performance. Keep a warm and fuzzy file and celebrate successes!