Do you have a personal brand at work? The answer is always yes, even if you haven’t made any conscious efforts to manage it so far in your career.
The question is why do we need brands? What do brands achieve? Why are brands so important? Who needs a personal brand? How do you build your personal brand at work? The list is endless and we often get confused when someone asks us about our personal brand at work.
Why are Brands Important?
Brands make it easy for the consumer to make the purchase decision. Great brands are often known for their simplicity, focus and uncluttered approach. Brands help us to manage our expectations due to their consistency.
In today’s hyper competitive job market, consider yourself as a brand instead of a product and you would be surprised with the results. Gone are the days when personal branding was just a C-level philosophy, young professionals are taking control of their personal brand from day one in their new jobs.
In this post, we give you a straightforward 5 step approach that helps you build your own personal brand at work. Let’s get started!
How to build your personal brand at work
1. Your Brand Definition
Think of Zara, do you think of a clothing store or fast fashion clothing line? Think of Patagonia, do you think of an outdoor clothing gear company or a responsible clothing brand? That’s the power of a strong brand.
Your brand is actually much more than your job title, in fact your job title is just the starting point of your personal brand. Companies give you the job title for maintaining a hierarchy and setting job expectations. Companies don’t give you a personal brand. You may be working with best in class company, but you need to leverage it to your advantage and build your personal brand. Effective personal branding differentiates you from the competition and creates trust with prospective employer. Imagine a hiring manager who is interviewing two candidates from two top tier consulting firms. When your employer brands are almost similar, your personal brand makes all the difference.
Within your current workplace, start building your personal brand within your team, department, business unit and organisation.
Find out what you are best at in your job? If you are a digital marketer then are you know for your SEO skills or content marketing genius? Find out and build your personal brand at work leveraging your skills.
2. Define your social brand
Don’t tell me you haven’t checked your LinkedIn profile since your last job search or you don’t have a LinkedIn profile to begin with. Either of the two is a cardinal offence and you should immediately create your LinkedIn profile and take control of your online brand.
Different platforms have different uses and related content types. You shouldn’t post your duck-pouts on LinkedIn. Talk too much about professional life on Facebook is also equally undesirable. Post the right content on the right platform for maximum attention. Every platform has its USP, target audience and right content type. You should utilize that fact to your advantage.
You should add your co-workers and professionals from other companies on your LinkedIn network. Once you start growing your professional network on LinkedIn, you would notice that its easier for people to identify with your personal brand.
3. Look for gaps and inconsistencies
You can’t be Superman during the day and Batman during the night (you wish you could). The best brands in the world are known for their consistency. Apple is known for its innovation; Domino’s is known for its 30 minutes delivery promise. No matter where you are in the world, these brands deliver the same message to the consumers.
In the same way, your personal brand should be consistent across online and offline channels. As its rightly said, “What’s the most powerful marketing tool these days to build your brand? It’s consistency.”
Employers are doing online searches before setting up an interview and you don’t want to come across as a completely different version of your resume on any of the social media platforms.
It’s okay to have a “work version”, “home version”, “friend version” of yourself on social media accounts but if there’s too much deviation between any the three then you are giving an inconsistent message. If a social media platform is not in line with your core values and messaging, leave it.
4. Audit your personal brand
While you have gone at great lengths to perfect your personal brand, you are still evolving as a human. Hence, the concept of auditing your personal brand every few months is highly important. This is the same way organizations and companies undertake audits for financial transactions to check their compliance with the laid down policies.
In a similar fashion, if you have made a deliberate change to your personal brand, then you should go back and see how much you have actually progressed.
For example, start with a simple Google Search with your name and then add you job title and company name to see how the search results evolve. Do this exercise once again at the end of say 4 months to see how the online search results have evolved. Could you find yourself online much easily? The answer defines your progress.
Talk to your colleagues and seek their feedback on things you are trying to work upon. Remember, other people too might be working on their personal brand at the same time as yours so you need to be on top of your game all the time.
5. Not a single day job
Developing and crafting a stellar personal brand takes years and not months. You would certainly be witnessing some immediate wins in the short term but you would need some time to get the message across to the larger audience. It’s important to take a course correction if you don’t see the desired results upon auditing your personal brand. It can take several months before people identify with your personal brand and its certainly a long term commitment.
Whatever little steps you take everyday would impact your personal brand. In order to maximize your returns from personal brand development, you should focus on improving your relationship with people. You should pursue professional opportunities like conferences, projects, assignments that align with your personal brand objective.
At StepVue we help professionals across industries and functions in building their own stellar personal brand with our Personal Branding Service. Our Personal Branding Strategy ensures that you realize your maximum potential, grow your professional network and establish your own unique personal brand.