This past week I led a discussion on personal branding for a large organization.
With 20 minutes to present and about 60+ people on the call with plenty of material to get through, I squeezed in my best tips and advice on how women in business can build a powerful brand.
Today, I’m sharing with you the nuts and bolts of my talk along with the answers to a few questions we had on the call. Later on, I will be inviting a few of you to join my first ever personal branding masterclass to expand on some of the material covered here. So without further ado, my quick tips for building and leveraging your personal brand in business and leadership.
What is brand?
For many of us, when we think of a brand, we tend to think of it in terms of the name of our business, our bio, what’s on our resume, LinkedIn profile, or the role or title we have. Maybe for some of us, we don’t even see ourselves as a brand or never really considered it. We might think of the stores we shop in, the products we buy, the logos we see as brands. But this is a very one-dimensional way of seeing ourselves and the power we have to create an impact and build influence.
A brand reDefined.
A brand can be defined as three things:
1. The unique set of ingredients that set you apart and allow you to stand out.
2. The experience of you and what people come to expect from you.
3. The value you bring to the table.
Why does having a brand matter?
When you don’t have a clear definition of who you are, what you stand for, and what you bring to the table, you can start to feel adrift and stagnant in your work. You may find yourself unable to create meaningful goals, struggle with confidence and impact in your leadership, and decision-making becomes a bit cloudy.
Consider your brand as your navigational guide towards personal and professional success. Foundational items like your personal vision, core values, and strengths lead the way. With a clear understand of your brand, you can align with the right projects/clients/opportunities.
What gets in the way?
I call these the stories we tell ourselves; invisible barriers that come in the form of negative self talk that causes us to hide, shrink, become insecure and diminish confidence.
The two narratives we most often hear are:
1. Not good enough.
2. Who do you think you are?
What we continuously believe and actions we take as a result, becomes our habits, which shape our character and ultimately our destiny. Through methods that interrupt this pattern of thinking, we find ourselves able to replace negative thinking with solid, more empowering beliefs. Priceless!
A few questions I received that I’d like to answer here were:
How does the culture of the organization come into play with developing your personal brand within the organization?
“Make visible what, without you, might never have been seen.” – Robert Bresson
1. Listen; engage in active listening to tune into the internal dynamics of your organization. What do you notice about how teams communicate, how problems are solved, or how leaders lead? Then ask yourself: What/how can I best contribute here? What unique quality or skill that I possess would be most useful here?
Learn to ask for feedback from colleagues and clients to determine what your best strengths and skills are. This will aid in knowing who you are and where you most bring value.
2. Teach; oftentimes you have to show & tell people how you want to be perceived and what you want to be known for. Pay attention to the language you use about yourself and how you describe what you do. Use language that you most want to be known for. In essence you have to be the one to teach people who you are. Do this by your actions, words, and results achieved.
3. Cheer-lead; women can be your best advocate who will attest to your skill and value. Your cheerleaders will speak highly of you in your absence – they become your own personal PR agent! Align yourself with ‘influential allies’ and become one yourself for other women.
How did I develop my brand as a business professional and voice for women’s leadership and empowerment?
I will be answering this in full detail with step-by-step guidance in my Branding masterclass. On Wednesday, August 30th I will be hosting a 75-minute online branding masterclass, The Essence of YOU; Personal Branding for Smart Women. This session is for you if you are considering your next career move, starting a new venture, needing more clarity around what you want, and especially if you're just tired of shrinking and ready to play bigger in your world! What’s unique about this course is that it takes a very unconventional approach to branding, from the inside, out. So if you’re open to a new way of discovering & developing your brand, you will enjoy this talk.