Management guru Tom Peters suggests that “All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”
Tailor your message
Peters advises that you are just as much a brand as Google, Pepsi or John Lewis and that you need to present and market yourself in a similar manner. Start by asking yourself “What is it that my product or service does that makes it different?”
What makes you unique and what do you want people to remember about you? Identify your USP and use it to market your personal expertise. This involves creating a narrative that communicates what you stand for and the value you bring to the table/project/organisation and identifies your strengths and talents to managers, colleagues and peers.
In terms of your career this enables you to tailor your personal brand message when interviewing so as to address the challenges the hiring manager needs to address. Think about how you can use your experience and experience to help the organisation, how you demonstrate problem-solving and collaborative skills, and who how you learn and grow at work.
The ancient Greek aphorism “know thyself” is the starting point for personal branding. Effective performance at work depends on self-awareness as to how you behave, react and learn. It is crucial that you recognise and acknowledge your personal values and beliefs, strengths, weaknesses, motivators and how they affect your work and development.
It helps to seek feedback from those who know you, it is helpful in developing greater effectiveness. Start by asking for feedback around things you do that others appreciate, value, or think you do well and want to see you doing or do more of. You may be surprised by some of what you hear. Then you can think about what you want to do differently.
Self-awareness is important because it is directly linked to effectiveness at work and in your personal life. Research shows that emotional intelligence is often a greater predictor of effectiveness than IQ. The focus of IQ is task-oriented while the emphasis of emotional intelligence is on people and relationships.
Build your personal brand on this realistic self-appraisal so that you are able to see yourself as a product and manage what is recognisable about yourself. Awareness of what others see help you identify blind spots and deal with practical problems or self-projection. Research shows that you have up to five seconds to make an impact. At 10Eighty we suggest that you consider three questions:
- What do you want people to say about you?
- What do people perceive when you join the conversation?
- Is your brand congruent with and representative of your aspirations?
If you describe yourself as an excellent communicator, competent, and detail orientated – is that representative of how you look, sound and behave? Are you punctual? Is there a button missing from your cuff? If you are late can you explain fluently, convincingly and charmingly why you were late? In other words – are you on message?
Aim to actively live up to your personal brand statement and to show off that brand. Self-esteem is about how you see yourself and personal branding is about how others see you.