When I was asked to lead a team discussion on personal branding, it took me by surprise. Personal branding is not a workshop that a currently hold or have expressed knowledge in. When I asked why they chose me, the leader of this team stated that I had a great personal brand and wanted her Associates to learn how they could get one as well. Back in my office, I sat and thought about what she had said. My brand is not something that happened overnight, or even in the last five years.
While I have been putting a lot of thought into my personal branding to build BlakeLeadership.com, all the branding there represents me as a person as well. It was creating something that represented who I was as a person and what I believed in. It reflected what I wanted to see in the world and how I was going to leave that change.
So, what does your personal brand mean to you? Have you thought about it much? How does the world see you in your normal state? That is the brand you carry already whether you know it or not. Are we known for being there on time every time? Or perhaps, we have the reputation for not meeting the deadlines. Is our cube, desk, or personal space a mess or is everything in order showing that we ourselves are in order? These are all great questions about her own personal brand.
Your personal brand
Whether you think it or not, you are a brand. – Robert D. Smith
How do other people consider you? As mentioned in the questions above, the way other people perceive you is your personal brand. This could be a very bad thing; when they hear your name, they run to their office and hide under their desks. Or it could be a great tool for you, opening doors and making connections you may have never had before.
To figure out your personal brand you need to consider how other people view you. This could be through your actions, your words, how you communicate, your experience, and even small things you might not think of. A great way to find out your personal brand is to ask somebody close to you what it is. Tell them that you want their honest opinion, and you are doing this to make sure you have the right image being set forward. Make sure they understand that this is for your personal growth and not for you to get angry at them.
If your brand is accomplishing the things that you want in life, then continue to use it. It is like the old saying “if it’s not broke don’t fix it.” However, if you are like most of us, there are a few things that we would like to change. So how do you change this personal brand and become the person you want others to see?
A new you
Consider what you want the world to say about you in five years. Take a few minutes and sit and think about that. Just imagine that it was your funeral, time is up and you could do nothing more. You had five people that were going to get up and speak about your life. What would each of these say about you and would you like to hear what was said?
- A Friend
- A Neighbor
- Fellow Coworker
- Family Members
- Someone from Your Community
Brainstorm on these five individuals until you have a clear picture of what you would want to hear each of them say. Now you have an in goal, a place to be in five years, where your brand will be shining through.
Putting it into action
Karen Kang has an interesting quote in her book about personal branding entitled BrandingPays:
People will only be interested in your message if you are adding value to the world – and specifically, to them. -Karen Kang
If you’re not helping others in some way, they will have very little time for you or your brand. Make sure your brand represents not only yourself but the value that you can add to your job, your community, and the world.
We have the current reality of water brand is. We have brainstormed on what we want our brand to be in five years. Now we need to come to a plan that will get us from here to there. What are the options, no matter how wild and crazy they may be, that can move your brand from where you currently sit to where you want to be in five years? This is a chance for you to be creative and imaginative. In what way can you show the world your best self and at the same time show them a better way to be as well?
Once you have sketched out your ideas on creating your new brand, it is time to put it to action. Grab a pen and paper and create action steps. Start a calm for the title of the action. This will be where you describe in detail what you are going to do within that action to change your brand.
The next column will be for measurement. You need to be able to measure your goals to make sure you are successful. Just saying “I want to be a better leader” is not measurable. How would you measure your success as a leader? Perhaps, a better goal would be “I want to decrease turnover by 10%.” That is a measurable goal that will also determine that your leadership has improved.
The final column is for your due date. In this column, you need to put a specific date on when you will accomplish this action.
A Better Brand
Each of us has a personal brand that we carry with us always. It is up to you to decide what that brand will be and how we change it. If we are not happy with the way people see us, it is only our own actions that can change their view of us. We need to envision the future that are new brand shines in, and then take the steps to make it happen.