How to Build Your Personal Brand
“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room” Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com
Sometimes we get so caught up in promoting the brand of the business we work for that it can be easy to forget the importance of our personal brand and how this may be impacting our career success. But personal brand is, in many ways, more important than representing your company brand as this is what will stay with you throughout your career, whether you stay with a specific organisation or not. In fact having a clear idea about what your personal brand is should be one of the first things you do before you start searching for a company you can work with. The best working partnerships happen when there is genuine alignment between employer and employee in terms of values and philosophy, and it is only when you understand your own brand that you can accurately assess if you are suited to represent the company’s.
Unfortunately for most people it doesn’t happen this way and instead they experienced a staggering disconnect between the values they embody and those of the company they work for. This will not only be bad for individuals as it can cause significant stress trying to personify something you don’t agree with, but it also creates a bad experience for the customer. If the personal brand of an employee doesn’t match that of the company it will almost inevitably cause frustration for customers who may experience a disjointed service. Taking time to understand, define and build your personal brand is the best way to ensure you are able to find the right role for you, and will be a huge factor in your success, and luckily it’s not a hard thing to do.
Tips on building your personal brand
- Define it –you can’t build something unless you have a blueprint to work from, and it’s the same with your brand. Take some time to reflect on what your core values are and use them to define your brand. The beauty of personal brand is that it’s personal so it doesn’t matter whether your values revolve around compassion for others, adventure, or career progression, decide what is important to you and embody it. Decide what you want people to say about you when you’re not in the room
- Remind yourself – sometimes we forget about our personal brand and get caught up portraying somebody else’s whether that be a friend’s or your company’s. To ensure this is avoided as much as possible simply find ways to remind yourself what your personal brand is. Write it in a notebook, put pictures up or set reminders on your phone; whatever option you choose, make an effort to consciously remind yourself what you stand for
- Find a place to show it off – if you want to live with integrity and be amazing at your job then finding a role in a company where your brand and values align is essential. It doesn’t matter how good a job is, if you are working in a way that opposes your personal values you will struggle to find any enjoyment from it. It’s not an easy thing to accomplish and it may require some trial and error, but finding an environment where your personal brand is not only accepted but actively encouraged will be well worth the effort
- Get Feedback – whether you already know what you want your personal brand to be or not, getting feedback will be vital to help you develop it. While your personal brand is about your own values, it is also about how others perceive you and whether the two match up – can people tell what your values are from the way your portray yourself? The only way to find this out is to ask; so seek feedback and use it constructively to develop your brand to be what you want it to be
- Find a mentor and/or coach – if there are aspects of your personal brand that you feel could benefit from being developed further then it may be useful to seek the support of someone external. This may be someone you feel embodies that value or perhaps a professional coach who can offer targeted support in developing this area. Just as you would if building a company brand, seek support from those who have the expertise in the required areas and you’ll find it much easier to make headway
Personal brand may be what people say about you when you’re not in the room, but that certainly doesn’t mean you have no control over it. Decide what you want to be known for and focus on making it happen.