I can remember first getting to understand the concept of personal brand about four years ago when I attended and professional development workshop. I can remember the white board with the question “who do you want to be?” written across it. A very simple question, that lead to some serious thinking about myself, about the industry I was working in and what I wanted to do in my career.
What do you want to be known for?
Now I understand the business case for personal brand: it’s a tough market place, there are more graduates than ever and so we all need something that will make us stand out from the crowd. For me though, there are two words that sum up what personal brand is. They are Reputation and Authenticity.
Why brand matters…being authentic.
I am incredibly passionate about the concept of Authentic Leadership, the idea of bringing your whole self to work. ‘Being yourself’ has huge impacts on engagement, morale and productivity. Imagine being in a workplace where you were not able to be yourself, where you couldn’t bring your whole personality, lifestyle and history to work. Now I don’t mean that you have to share everything about you with everyone, we all need and want privacy. But the impact of having to hide fundamental aspects of yourself means that your energy is reduced, your engagement suffers and your performance falters. This is why, your individuality, your personality, your brand has to be true to you and authentic.
Why brand matters…your reputation.
Your brand: how you do things and the way you come across will dictate your reputation. So one way of thinking about brand is to think about “how do I want to be seen” or “what are the strengths I have noticed”. These will help you to call in to mind your best self and help you to showcase these aspects of you in meetings, applications and interviews.
Building your brand
Feedback is a really helpful way of building your brand. You will be able to learn what others notice about you and how you come across. Make sure you are open to receiving feedback and be clear about what you want to know about yourself. I had some interesting feedback about my hair and whether or not highlights had an impact on how professional I looked! I wasn’t after feedback on my physical appearance, but this is a key part of your overall personal brand. You will need to consider your individuality and style alongside the environment you want to work in. Are these compatible and can you be authentic there?
So if you are willing to look at yourself through your own and others eyes and willing to hear personal feedback about your style and reputation, then this will help you build a brand that is authentic, unique and memorable.
Contact Details: Follow Nathaniel on Twitter at @N8_tweets