Brands aren’t just reserved for businesses and the likes of Coca Cola, McDonalds or Starbucks. Although our photos and logos aren’t displayed worldwide on billboards, each of us has our own personal brand which other people recognise.
It’s what comes to mind when people think of you – and what they experience when they meet you. It’s what makes you different and special – your values, your skills and your attributes. What you project to others affects the judgements they make. Being aware of how this process works gives you a vital edge in creating the right impact, not just of you but of HR and L&D in your company. David McNally and Karl D. Speak describe your brand as ‘a perception or emotion, maintained bysomebody other than you, that describes the total experience of having a relationship with you’.
Personal brand is not just personal image. It goes much deeper than the clothes you wear and the car you drive. It’s the way you project your values rather than a façade or mask to hide behind. Creating a known brand in L&D and in your company doesn’t happen by chance, here are six steps to creating a strong personal brand:
Creating your personal brand
Even when we’re reasonably self-aware our perception of ourselves may be different from how others see us. One way to find out is to ask a few people you trust to give you an honest perspective
2. What makes you distinctive?
Something you believe in and value. In her book, Branding Yourself, Mary Spillane describes our self-image as “a montage of personality traits, attitudes, behaviours, habits, values and personal style”. Think about what sets you apart and how you want to be perceived.
3.What would you like to change?
Once you’ve established your starting point you can start to consider what you like about your brand and what you want to change in order to create a positive impact.
4. Build your brand
Once you’ve identified your current brand, and thought about how you wish to be perceived in the future, the next stage is to plan the steps to take you there. Use this as an opportunity to research and model the characteristics and communication methods of people who you feel epitomise the qualities you’ve listed.
5. Communicate your brand
Depending on what you want to achieve it can be helpful to be visible and accessible. Get on social media and share relevant information. It’s important to keep up to speed with changes and trends in your industry to share insight. Take every opportunity to meet new people and share good news updates to those you want to connect with.
6. Manage your brand
Doing the groundwork is great, but if you don’t keep on top of things it’s easy to let things slide. Make sure to share great examples of work you’re doing in meetings, allow extra time for every call to give updates, but also make sure you keep awareness that a brand is also made up of how you behave and not just what you say.
The most important thing to bear in mind when it comes to creating a personal brand is that it must be authentically you. Although you can think of ways to enhance qualities you have, if you appear fake you’ll erode trust and damage relationships.
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