In this uber-connected world, having a personal brand is now more important than ever before. In a crowded market filled with talented people, people have to find a way to stand out from the crowd to get the top job. Whether you’re Richard Branson, Lady Gaga or just trying to carve out a career, more people need a personal brand these days.
Writing in Fast Company, management thinker Tom Peters puts it bluntly: “Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”
Glenn Llopis at Forbes defines a personal brand as “the total experience of someone having a relationship with who you are and what you represent as an individual; as a leader.
“Every time you are in a meeting, at a conference, networking reception or other event, you should be mindful of what others are experiencing about you and what you want others to experience about you. Each of these engagements is similar to a job interview – expect in these cases you are being evaluated by your peers. Those who know how to live and manage their personal brand will earn their respect in any situation.”
The personal brand, he says, needs to be seen as your trade mark and the thing that sets you apart as a role model.
An Australian Institute of Management Survey last year found that personal branding is ranked as very important by the most senior managers. The higher you go, the more important it becomes. It found that 75 per cent of CEOs and 61 per cent of senior managers believe their personal branding skills are “Higher than average” compared to their work others . By way of contrast, only 31 per cent of team members give themselves the “Higher than average”. In other words, those lower down the food chain did not rate their personal branding skills that highly. Significantly, men are much more inclined to rate their personal branding skills that highly with 57 per cent saying so compared to only 46 per cent of women.
All this means two things. First, organisations need to put in time and effort developing women’s personal branding skills. And secondly, anyone wanting to rise up in management ranks and develop their careers needs to work on their personal branding.
Dan Schawbel, personal branding expert, and author of Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success recommends such steps as having fancy business cards carrying a personal brand statement, setting up a blog, keeping your LinkedIn profile up to date and having a strong presence on Facebook.
Richard Hein at CIO magazine says the first thing you need to do is work out what you do best and what you’re known for. What are the top one or two selling points that make you unique? Find out how relevant it is to your industry. He also recommends creating content by, for example, contributing to an open source project, creating a webcast, writing a whitepaper, or creating a group in your social network of choice and leading the discussion on relevant topics. Keep updating the brand and content, it’s never- ending. He says it’s also important to stay in touch with people and let them know how to use your brand.
How would you build your personal brand?