Building a brand to enhance your professional reputation and further your career goals is not a modern fad. It is a growing trend that can yield big dividends when done properly. Professional branding is a way to differentiate yourself from your competition and carve a niche that will have others flocking to you as an industry expert. You can be the brand of choice!
Creating a professional brand image has made well known people like Rachael Ray, Guy Kawasaki, Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffet, Donald Trump, Madonna, and Martha Stewart into household names. Love them or hate them, most everyone knows who they are.
So how do you create a brand identity that is all your own? What steps can you take to advance your reputation and build your unique personal brand?
- Identify your core characteristics: Are you a strategic thinker? Are you able to manage complex projects? Are you tenacious, loyal, a team builder? Is your strength in business development? Are you a good collaborator able to motivate others? Are you highly productive? Are you intuitive and analytical? Think about what it is that makes you good at what you do and create an exhaustive inventory of your brand strengths.
- List your Specific Marketing Attributes: Your marketing attributes are a bit more specific than your core characteristics because they focus on the intricacies of your expertise. If you are a project manager, for example, why is it that you shine above the others? What is the reputation you wish to convey with regards to problem resolution, leadership, and business management? Are you focused and goal oriented? What level of accountability do you possess?
- Define your Descriptors and Drivers: Are you a results-focused leader and mentor when it comes to business skills? What is your personality like? Do you motivate others? Are you fair? Are you good at rallying the troops? Are you engaging and charismatic? How about your ability to deliver results? Are you good at strategizing, team partnering, and creating alliances?
Once you have these details down, you will be able to generate a solid statement of your overall value proposition. By clarifying your brand, you can incorporate this information into all of your career communications, including your résumé and cover letter, LinkedIn profile, and professional bio (if you don’t have one yet, you should consider creating one).
Once you have established a strong brand, you will then be ready to take action. Use a twitter account to tweet daily on work related topics and grow your followers. Consider blogging at least 1x per week, keeping in mind your brand image. Grow your LinkedIn presence and communicate your professional position on discussion topics with various business related groups. Network with local groups related to your area of expertise.
As you communicate with others, be sure to portray your value proposition based on the brand image you have defined and developed. You may also want to consider volunteering to add to your brand reputation. While branding yourself can be a challenging endeavor, it can also bring great rewards that will allow you to enhance your reputation and your career potential for many years to come.