Everybody seems to be talking about self-branding these days, but what the heck is it, how do you get a brand, and why would you want one?
What is a brand?
Your brand is comprised of education, experience, skills, frame of reference, mindset – and how you use this unique mix to do what you do. For example, you can probably think of many psychologists, but add tall, Texan and plain-talking, and you get Dr. Phil’s unique brand. Libby Gill, who helped craft it says “the key to creating Dr. Phil’s brand – and this is the same for anyone – was to identify his authentic value, what he alone could do in a way no one else could do it.”
Brands are as unique as each individual. Even people with similar education and career paths may utilize very different skills to do what they do.
You’ve already got a brand:
It’s true – you already have a brand, and anyone who has spent even a few seconds in your company can articulate it. The way you speak, dress, stand and compose and express your thoughts can indicate whether you’re logical, methodical, funny, detail-oriented or caring – and these are just a very few possibilities.
The weird thing is that you can’t experience your own brand – you can only observe the impact it has on other people. You need to ask others how they experience you – and that can be very different from how you thought you were coming across.
Why do I need a brand?
William Arruda, self-branding guru explains in his video that “the work world has changed”, becoming a dynamic environment where change is the only constant. Your brand is the one thing that stays the same no matter where you work. Your brand also creates an expectation of how you will deliver what you do. And it helps organizations deliver their brand consistently through uniquely-branded individuals. Click here to see William’s video.
How to tweak your brand:
Sometimes behavior can be misinterpreted. An example is a very shy person who avoids eye contact and talking to others may be astonished to learn they are perceived as conceited and stand-offish. People observe the lack of contact and may come to very different conclusions. Changing this perception takes a little bit of effort and getting beyond the comfort zone – looking people in the eye and smiling or having a pleasant expression will do a lot to offset the misperception.
Resources for discerning your brand:
There are a number of free online resources that will help you collect and analyze information about your personal brand. here are two especially good ones:
- Free online Myers-Briggs personality test to help you determine your communication and work style
- Free online 360-degree review – ask up to 16 friends for brand feedback. This site will collect it and provide anonymous feedback.
The bottom line:
You are an individual with a unique way of doing what you do.Organizations need all sorts of people to provide creative ideas that fuel innovation. Be what William Arruda calls “the ingredient not available anywhere else” that leads to the next Big Idea.