Executive Coaching Articles

Six Tips for Building Your Own Brand

Increasing your visibility is one of the best ways to be recognized, gain influence and get ahead in workplace. But for many, especially new employees who are swallowed up by large organizations, this can be a daunting task.

One way to stand above the crowd is to create your own brand.

That’s what’s made companies like 3M, Disney, Michelin, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, Nordstrom, Boeing, Starbucks and Volvo leaders in their industries. These firms typically hire expensive ad agencies to create and promote their brands. But you can accomplish the same thing — on a small scale — at no cost at all.

Management guru Tom Peters suggests you, “Start by identifying the qualities or characteristics that make you distinctive from your competitors — or colleagues. What would your colleagues or customers say is your greatest and clearest strength?”

Michael Iacona, a resourceful advertising executive, surveyed his business associates. He asked them, “If I were a car, what would I be?”

“This isn’t about creating an image of who you want to be,” Iacona explains, “but identifying the unique value you bring.”

What value do you bring to your job? Answer that question and you’ve taken the first step to creating your own brand. I’ve listed a half-dozen other “brand building” tips below.

Whichever model you ultimately choose — an environmentally-friendly hybrid or luxurious European import — you and your career will soon be riding in the fast lane.

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  1. Imagine you’re creating an ad for yourself. Think in terms of your top talents and the value these can provide your company. Play around with your branding traits, experimenting with different ways to express them. Imagine you’re creating an ad or business card. How can you express your value in a single, brief statement? Here are some ideas to get you started:
    • Nothing falls through the cracks, ever.
    • Strong communicator, even stronger results.
    • Strategic thinker who’s not afraid to get her hands dirty.
    • Assign the job to me… consider it done.
    • There’s no problem I can’t solve.
  2. Seek opportunities to demonstrate your value. Once you create your brand statement, you can use it as a focal point when communicating your worth to others. Develop a personal marketing plan. Find opportunities to demonstrate your style through the type of projects you undertake and the accomplishments you promote.
  3. Your behavior should reinforce your brand. This includes the way you conduct meetings, answer phone calls or respond to emails. Are you late for appointments? Do you forget to follow up? Oftentimes, it’s the “little things” that can make a difference.
  4. “Packaging” is important, too. Does your personal appearance reflect positively on your brand and the attributes you want to promote?
  5. Constantly seek feedback. Brand name corporations conduct market research to see if they’re living up to their customers’ expectations. So should you. Probe for feedback from clients and associates about the personal traits you want to emphasize and showcase. Work with your supervisor to include your brand attributes in your performance appraisal.
  6. Periodically evaluate your brand. Brand name corporations constantly evolve. So do individuals. At least once a year (some experts recommend every six months) take the time to assess how you’re doing on living up to your personal brand and what, if anything, needs to change. You may have developed new skills, interests or capabilities. Does your brand reflect who you are today and how you want to be perceived and valued as your career progresses?

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