The topic of Personal branding is quite common now a days, yet many professionals are often puzzled when asked to define their brand. When conducting an Executive Search, I will often ask candidates to define or state what is their professional brand. Some have a clear understanding of what that means and can succinctly articulate it, others draw a blank.
Your personal brand is alive and it is how others in your profession, company or your industry perceive you. It is how you would be described by another person or colleague. So the question to think about is are you managing your professional brand?
A way to begin managing it, is by first understanding what is your brand. If you are employed, you could do your own perception survey by inquiring with other colleagues what is their perception of your brand. Three powerful questions you can use are:
- What could Mr. X do more of so be more successful?
- What could Mr. X do less of to be more successful?
- What words would you use to describe Mr. X?
These three questions can provide insight to what you need to continue doing; start or stop doing; and how you are perceived in the world.
Once you have conducted your personal brand audit, you can determine if it meets your desired brand or if you need to rebrand yourself.
If rebranding is needed, here are some tips:
- Seek feedback/Collect Data
Seeking feedback on what areas you need to improve upon often is the first step to rebranding as it allows you the opportunity to see how others see you. Ask people. Ask what do you do well? Often others see our talents better than we do as we are more self-critical. Ask what can you improve upon.
- Define your desired Brand
You could think about it like so. If you were being introduced as a speaker to an audience that does not know you, what would you want to be said about you?
Now that you have a clear picture of what your desired brand is, check yourself and see if you living in accordance to it. Consider your actions and how they help support your brand. Are there any other steps or actions you could take to support your personal brand or vision of yourself?
In addition, in today’s world of social media you need to be aware of how your Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchats feeds contribute positively or negatively to your brand. This is critical as you are searchable and what you put out into the social media should be consistent with the brand you want to portray.
Now, don’t be alarmed into total paralysis. I have seen candidates so afraid of social media and saying the wrong thing that they are virtually non -existent. This is an error. Virtual presence, is similar to having a credit history; you want to exist but positively. If unsure about social media, stick to linkedin as this is the current vehicle used by recruiters to find candidates.
In summary, identify what is your brand, determine if you need to rebrand or continue and then be consistent in your words and actions to support your brand.
Manage your brand and you will manage your career.