In today's world, developing and managing your personal brand is critical. Think about the high profile business leaders you know. How would you describe their personal brands? Whether you thought of Oprah, Richard Branson, or Simon Sinek, it is guaranteed that their personal brand is carefully and strategically designed and managed.
Your personal brand is the clear and memorable impression about who you are and what you do. Creating and managing your brand gives you greater control over your career and personal destiny. Take the quiz below by answering 'true' or 'false' to each question, to see how well you are strategically managing your brand.
- I know what's important to me, and I can list the values that inform my work and approach.
- When colleagues (and those I work with at all levels) think of me, what they think is clear and consistent from person to person.
- I know how I create value for my company and/or my clients. They do, too.
- My personal "brand message" is targeted and focused.
- I put my brand, my unique contribution and/or approach, on everything I do: presentations, reports, meetings, deals, etc.
- I look to connect my personal brand to every situation possible (and appropriate).
- I consider myself my own CEO and have a vision by which I lead myself.
- My emails are consistently opened, read and acted upon.
- I focus on growing and nurturing my professional network, both through offline approaches (e.g., associations, speaking, etc.) and online strategies (e.g., LinkedIn, blog/forum participation, etc.).
- I look to find what's distinct about me and what I bring to the table, rather than try to conform to the norm. In essence, I create my own "unique selling proposition" (USP).
- I have a personal brand plan, and I execute its strategy and tactics.
- I establish appropriate partnerships that will extend my brand and help me get complementary brand value.
- I make sure that everything that surrounds my brand (my office, my website, my customer service, etc.) communicates the same brand message.
If you answered true to at least eight statements, you're well on your way to building a powerful personal brand. But don't forget: it's not only about creating a distinct personality, but also telling the world about it. If you have a bit of work to do on your personal brand, consider these points:
- Doing great work isn't enough. People have no way of knowing what great work you are doing unless you let them know. You have to strategically market your value and contributions.
- Your boss probably won't market you and your brand. You have to be responsible for your own destiny. To be considered for a new job or a new opportunity you have to be known. Leaving the brand to others is losing control over your brand.
- Self-promotion isn't bad - it's necessary. If you don't promote unique value it is leaving it to chance that someone else will. Speak up, add value and own your place in the world. If no one knows about your unique value, the world loses out on your experience, expertise and opportunities to engage.
So how is your personal brand? Let me know in the comments.
Rosalind Cardinal is The Leadership Alchemist and Principal Consultant of Shaping Change, an Australian consultancy specializing in improving business outcomes by developing individuals, teams and organizations. You can interact with Ros, learn more about leadership and management, and download a complimentary copy of her e-guide on leading change at her website.
*Quiz used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications