4 Questions to Elevate Your Personal Brand Today
Promotions Etc specializes in branding for companies, schools, athletic organizations, developing methods to tell corporate/organizational stories to clients, employees and members. But have you ever considered your personal branding? This article by Monica Scalf explains the importance of crafting a personal brand and how it impacts those we interact with. Enjoy!!
Monica Scalf, Founder of The Work Well Group
January 24, 2017
As someone who teaches personal branding, there have been plenty of times at the beginning of a program when I’ve gotten push back from a participant on the necessity of personal branding.
The most common objection that I hear goes something like this, “Does this stuff really matter? I mean, can’t I just do my job? Why do I have to create a personal brand?”
The funny thing is that this mode of thinking assumes that there is a choice when it comes to whether or not you want to have a personal brand. It also assumes that a personal brand is something you can conjure up to suit your needs.
The reality is that everyone already has a personal brand whether they like it or not, and it lives in the hearts and minds of those you interact with.
Way back when, someone’s personal brand was more or less his or her reputation. Wouldn’t it have been absurd for someone to say, “No thank you, I’ve chosen not to have a reputation”?
Having a personal brand is inevitable. It’s also impossible to completely control since our brands live in the minds of others. However, you CAN do many things to help uncover, manage, and promote your authentic personal brand so that you have a better chance of being perceived the way you want to be perceived.
The way you do your job, the way you present yourself, the way you talk on the phone, the way you return emails, the way you show up in a meeting, for better or worse, all of these things and more contribute to your personal brand.
With a little bit of forethought, you can set yourself up for a successful year of expressing your unique and valuable personal brand.
Here are Four Questions to Ask Yourself to Elevate Your Personal Brand:
1. Ask yourself, What do I truly value?
Strong brands identify and stick to a set of core values. When thinking about your personal brand, consider the top 3 values that authentically resonate with you. Are you a person that most values transparency, service, and innovation? If so, use those values to guide you as you take action. Instead of randomly picking projects or new initiatives, let your values guide the way.
Consider doing a quick google search to find a list of core values. Spend time identifying 3 that are important to you right now. Challenge yourself to come up with a concrete action for each that will help you to express that value in your daily work.
2. Ask yourself, Which parts of my job do I most love doing?
When you take the time to reflect and answer this question, you have a roadmap that points you toward how to express your authentic personal brand. If you love working on spreadsheets that help the company save money, part of your authentic brand could be profit conscious problem solver. If you love mentoring younger co-workers and matching them with internal projects that will help them grow, part of your brand could be approachable coach and leader. Sometimes we try to force ourselves to be something we’re not. If you’re aware of what you like, you automatically look for other opportunities in your day-to-day work to utilize that talent.
3. Ask yourself, What is the easiest way for people to experience my brand?
In order to positively influence the perception others have of you, they have to have some type of input. When you’re busy getting your day-to-day tasks completed, it’s easy to skip the stuff that strengthens your personal brand. Giving someone a quick phone call to follow up on a project can be a difference maker for your brand. Posting articles that are of value to your associates on Linked In can help remind others how generous and resourceful you are. Consistency is the key in this area. Look for things that will set you apart but that also feel natural and gratifying to you. I once met a participant who wanted to convey that she was approachable but wasn’t willing to try smiling more often. To be viewed as approachable, she needed to show more overt signs of warmth – genuine smiling is a great way to convey that. Be open to changing your behavior.
4. Ask yourself, Who do I think highly of in my work world and how did I form this opinion?
Sometimes it’s impossible to view yourself objectively. That’s why it can be a huge benefit to discover the answer to the questions above. When someone’s personal brand is authentic, in alignment with his or her values, and being demonstrated regularly, we tend to absorb his or her brand without even realizing it. We know we like that person, and we can list off several things that are great about them if asked, but we may not have ever analyzed the actions that caused this perception. I have a friend who never fails to check in with me every few weeks or so, and her first question is always about what’s new in my business – she’s great at celebrating my successes and encouraging me when things aren’t going well. No wonder I feel like a VIP when I’m talking to her. I have a client who rarely complains and never participates in verbal gang ups when others on his team talk negatively about co-workers. No wonder one of the words I associate with his personal brand is integrity. Once you step back and start to realize how ACTIONS are the only currency that matter in personal branding, you’ll be much more aware of how your own actions are affecting your personal brand. It helps to make a list of the actions you want to keep doing, start doing, and stop doing.
Personal branding can be a rewarding experience (and a profitable one) if you take the time to evaluate and promote the aspects of yourself that are most valuable to others and most satisfying to you. Taking action is the best thing you can do!
Monica Scalf, is the Founder of The Work Well Group and a consultant, teacher, speaker, and writer who works to help teams and individuals become more positive and productive. She has worked with teams in leading organizations such as eBay, Procter & Gamble, Deloitte, Great American Insurance and more. You can reach Monica at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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