During a recent seminar, I gave everyone an assignment; write a short story regarding your personal brand and send it to me.
I received the following e-mail from a woman who had attended the session:
“ I never knew what my brand was to colleagues until a few years ago when the CFO gave a speech on personal branding at our head office. During his address, he provided some great points on creating your own brand. At the end of the session, he said we all know our company CEO and the brand he has created. He then spotted me in the back of the room and said I see another person in this room who has created a great brand for herself and he mentioned my name. At first, I was taken by surprise but soon felt honored that someone felt that way about me. Following the speech, I received positive feedback from many other colleagues that were in attendance. Before that day I had never given a second thought about my brand. Since then it is something about which I am now more aware.”
This e-mail is not the first one that I have received from someone expressing their surprise regarding the impact that they have had on others. But what made this particular e-mail stand out, was the genuine amazement or awe that the person felt at being recognized in such a positive light.
Her response leads me to ask you an important question; Do you know the power of YOUR brand?
If you had to pause for a moment before answering, or find yourself struggling to provide a clear description of your personal brand, here are three valuable tips to help you to take control of your brand and stand out.
- Write A Personal Brand Statement
If you cannot explain your brand value to your customers, internal stakeholders or prospective employers, then how do you expect them to “value” what you have to offer?
The most important take away from the e-mail above wasn’t the fact that the individual did not know the extent of their impact on others. It was their realization that they have to be aware of their personal brand’s impact.
The first step towards personal brand awareness is to write a personal brand statement.
What is a personal brand statement? Quite simply, it sums up in one or two sentences, your unique promise of value.
With this in mind, your statement should answer the following questions:
- What are you the best at doing (your value)?
- Who benefits from what you do and why?
- What makes you unique?
- Walk Your Brand’s Talk
Simply having a personal brand statement is not enough. You have to walk your brand’s talk.
One of the leading brand killers is when your actions do not align with your message. The resulting disconnect will create a credibility gap that will be difficult to bridge.
To ensure that your personal brand aligns with your actions, follow these tips:
- Meet all of your commitments on time, and as promised
- Proactively look for ways to add value to others
- If necessary, reinvent your brand to remain relevant
- Be mindful of what your say and share – especially on social media
- Above all else, strive for consistency
- Conduct A Personal Brand Audit
The axiom “You can’t manage what you can’t measure,” has often been attributed to Peter Drucker.
In other words, you can’t know whether or not you are successful unless success is defined and tracked.
How do you know that your personal brand is having a positive impact on others? You certainly do not want to wait for someone to tell you.
You need to get out in front of your brand value by actively seeking feedback from those whom you are trying to serve.
For example, schedule some time with your boss – outside of the office if possible, and ask them to provide feedback on how your contributions are helping them and the organization achieve their goals.
If you are interfacing directly with end customers, take the time to ask them if there are ways that you can add greater value to your relationship.
By making an effort to quantify your brand value to others, you will ensure that you remain a relevant and essential contributor to their success. By doing so, you will, in turn, realize greater success yourself.
A Final Word
There is one important step you have to take before acting on the above tips. You have to start thinking of yourself as a brand.
Think of people you recognize or respect. What is it about them that makes them stand out to you? Whatever it is, this is their personal brand, and as their set of fingerprints, it is unique to them.
You also have qualities and capabilities that are “unique” to you. Know them and embrace them so that you can use them to stand out from the crowd.