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Branding Basics: Four Steps Towards Building Your Personal Brand

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Branding Basics: Four Steps Towards Building Your Personal Brand

“You too are personal brand, whether you realize it not, whether you like it or not.” – Marc EckĊ

Brands from Coca Cola to Amazon have claimed a space in the consciousness of individuals around the globe; so, why can’t you? Now more than ever, professionals are expected to be known for something in our industry. No longer is it enough to merely do a great job. The age of social media has increased connectivity and visibility in a way that has changed how we do business for good. Professionals seeking advancement in their careers are now required to demonstrate their expertise and manage their reputation in the office and online.

In today’s blog post, we will take a look at some branding basics that will support you in defining, guiding, and owning your personal brand.

Step 1: Define Your Personal Brand

A focus on your brand is critical for opening you up to new possibilities. Knowing your value, owning it, and putting yourself center stage helps to ensure that you are not missing out on opportunities when they present themselves.

What having a personal brand means is that you are known for something. You have a reputation.  You are known for how you interact with people, what value you offer the world, and how you make others feel.

I invite you to take a look at yourself and ask: “What am I known for?” and “What do I want to be known for?” From there, you can begin to craft your personal value proposition and elevator pitch.  For more on this, follow the link at the end of this blog post.

Step 2: Establish an Online Presence

LinkedIn is a great place to start building your online brand. If you have not already, consider creating a profile.  You can start with some very basic details, such as your current and former employer, industry organizations of which you are a member, and a summary of your personal brand.

Once you have completed the basics, you can move on to connecting with colleagues and contacts who also have LinkedIn accounts.

After your connections are in place, go ahead and share articles that interest you with your connections. Support others by posting recommendations and endorsements to acknowledge them for their skills the ways they have or do support you.  These activities foster a sense of community with your connections and build your online presence.

To take things a step further, select your skills and ask those whom you have touched with you work to endorse and recommend you.   Endorsements and recommendations build legitimacy to your profile and show perspective employers and business partners that you are so good at what you do that others are willing to recognize you for it.

Step 3: Look for Opportunities to Increase Brand Awareness

Opportunities to build your brand are everywhere, all you need to do is look for them.

Do you enjoy meeting new people? Consider joining an industry organization to network and volunteering your time.  Doing so expands the reach of your brand and circle of influence outside of your current employer.  Once you are seen as the helpful, dependable, kind-hearted person that you are, news will travel fast.

Are you a great writer? Articles, blogs, and discussion boards are a great place to showcase your abilities and knowhow.  Take a moment to consider the wisdom you have acquired through your life and career and how you might apply that to the common challenges others face and the obstacles that you have overcome to date.

Do you enjoy helping others? Consider volunteering to mentor someone newer in their career or look for opportunities to assist others in achieving their goals.  Once you build your reputation as someone who truly cares about the success of others, the benefits professionally and personally can be felt in a very significant way.  Not only is it good for those you invest your time supporting, it is also good for your “soul”.

I am a very passionate about the servant leadership philosophy and feel it is far superior to competitive approaches. Fear is what tells us that we are at risk when we help others grow and succeed.  However, focusing your energies on helping others succeed generates goodwill and trust and demonstrates the power of your positive influence.

Are you a great speaker? Speaking at industry events or in webcasts, YouTube videos, or podcasts is a great way to introduce new audiences to your many skills and abilities.  Speaking solidifies your expert status by showcasing your deep knowledge in your area of expertise.

Step 4: Adopt a Growth Mindset

If you are not growing, you are stagnating. Growth can be achieved many different ways, and it is not only the work of those early in their careers.  A growth mindset shows the world that you are always looking to improve yourself.  It keeps you fresh and things exciting.  After climbing the ladder year after year for decades, some high performing professionals hit a wall and decide that they no longer wish to continue striving for advancement.  However, those individuals could serve as fantastic mentors to those still working to build their brands from the ground up.  And, in supporting the growth of others, those more advanced in their careers and branding keep growing, too.

To learn more about building your brand, check out the SOS Webcast Brand Awareness: Building Your Professional Brand featuring Barbara Baksa, Executive Director of the NASPP and me.

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