It seems like every time I turn around there is someone speaking or writing on how to develop, maintain, and foster a ‘personal brand’ in your career and life. In fact, I give talks on this myself – which have been enthusiastically received over the past few years. Yet, as with so many things, these discussions can become complicated, complex, and just “one more thing” to remember when we are already inundated 24/7 with voice mails, emails, deadlines, and other pressures at work and at home. So, how can we keep this concept simple and still relevant? A few tips as we start this new week:
- First, simply determine what you want your brand to be. What do you want folks to think, say, or do when they meet you, interact with you, and when they speak of you to others? This is important. You may want to talk to other folks to get their insights. And most importantly: be authentic.
- Secondly, write down the descriptors and actions which represent that brand. Everything from the length and type of emails you send, to how you dress, to how you “show up,” etc. These are the metrics and measures by which you will then be judged against that brand. This is what you will stand for and how you will be referred. Write it down; say it when describing yourself to others to cement it further – then do what is on that list consistently. Consistency is the key.
- Finally, hold yourself accountable to that brand. In fact, after you have written the descriptors of how you want to be referred – then “assume that position.” For example, if you are faced with a challenging situation and are not sure how to respond, think of how someone like who you have just described would behave – then do it. This is a great way to continually grow into your brand, and build your skills and poise over time.
For those of you who have said to me over the past few years, “I don’t know if I even have a brand,” the answer is yes, you do, even if you don’t realize it. And, if you are unhappy with your brand, the answer to the question “Can I change it?” is again YES. It just takes conscientious self-awareness, authentic definition of how you wish to be thought of, and discipline and attention to making that consistently real to others.