Don't have one, you say? Wrong! We all have a personal brand - it just might not be what we want it to be.
What is a personal brand? It is that word, or phrase, that comes to mind when people think of you. Perhaps your personal brand is "whiner." Perhaps, on the other hand, it's, "the gal who gets things done around here."
Whatever your brand is today, you can make it what you want it to be. And you should. The days of the 40 year career at one company are long gone. As you navigate through the many organizations you will help during your career, a strong brand will help you make career decisions and it will help you attract the kind of organizations you want to help.
Your brand is not what you say you are. You can't become "the gal who gets things done around here" simply by saying so. It's your consistent behavior that builds your brand. You have to consistently "get things done around here" to earn that brand. Once you are consistently delivering on your brand promise, then you can say so. But delivery comes before boasting.
And before you deliver on your brand promise, you need to figure out what your unique value is. You need to find your personal hedge-hog concept, as covered by Jim Collins in Good to Great. Collins found that great companies did one thing supremely well, what he called the hedge-hog concept (see the book for more detail). That one thing, for your personal brand, is at the intersection of three circles:
- What you do better than others,
- What you are passionate about,
- What organizations will value.
Your job is to discover that one thing, by thinking over your career to date, taking assessments if that sort of thing helps you, and asking folks who know you.
Once you have discovered that one thing that makes you unique, then next step is to invest in your own professional growth in order to build your capability to deliver that one thing even better. Tiger Woods, for example, with an historically huge drive, spends countless hours trying to make his swing even better.
Finally, as you truly do deliver the promised results, you can articulate what you do into a short concise statement. Warning: just be sure you can back up your brand statement with real accomplishments.
My personal brand statement
I've been playing with my personal brand statement for some time. It probably isn't the greatest yet, but I thought I would share it to give you a feel for what a personal brand statement might look like:
I energize, focus and align manufacturing organizations, resulting in sustainable acceleration of processes, reduction in waste, and growth of profits.
What do you think? Does this sound unique enough, or like 1000 other manufacturing executives? Does it sound like motherhood and apple pie (both of which are good things, by the way), or does it sound real? Can you tell what I would do for you if you were to hire me? Can you tell how I would get those results?
Finally, here are some on-line resources on personal branding.
- For an example of a personal brand consultant, see Kim Batson's Career Management Coaching.
Photo by: Hernandez