As you set out to spread your company’s brand, don’t neglect your personal brand in the process. Whether you own a company or work for it, your personal brand will undoubtedly get muddled with the company’s brand to some extent. That said, allowing your company’s brand to completely overtake your personal brand can have a negative impact on current and future successes.
Reputation and Then Some…
Some people mistake their reputation for their brand. A reputation is certainly an important part of the equation, but your brand is so much more. You need to take a purposeful, well thought out and proactive approach to building and maintaining a strong personal brand. To start, here are some questions you may want to ask yourself:
- What unique skills and value do you bring to your clients/colleagues?
- What are your passions, interests and goals and how are they important to the people you are working with/for?
- What are your ethical boundaries? How important is your integrity and word?
- How important are your client’s interests to you? Are you willing to go the extra mile for their benefit? Do you feel urgency to fulfill their needs?
- How effective are you at communication? How responsive are you?
- You might take responsibility for your successes, how about your failures? If something goes wrong is it in your nature to fix it?
Be honest and principled in this evaluation process. Make sure your answers are not just words, but have substance and sustainable value. By really thinking about these and other questions related to your personal attributes, you can develop the core principles and message of your personal brand. Once you do, be sure to integrate that message in all you say and do, both internally and externally.
Good for You
Of course, there are major advantages for you in maintaining a strong personal brand. It is certain to help you be more successful and effective in your work. Effective communication of it can be the difference between climbing the corporate ladder, or being a rung. Nothing creates more individual opportunity and security than a strong personal brand. Just like a company brand, people will talk about you and hear about you. When opportunities come up, you will be more likely to have your name circling around them.
Good for Your Company
Managers and business owners might see an employee’s strong personal brand as a threat to their control and security. I suppose you could argue this, but in reality their people having strong brands has advantages which far outweigh the risk. You might leverage your company brand to get in the door, but your personal brand allows you to forge real, lasting connections once you get there. It also has the power to help overcome legacy perceptions or unexpected bumps in the road for a company. For example, when I worked as a business development manager for one company, trust in my personal brand allowed me to overcome some serious public relations issues the company was facing. Once you establish real connection and trust, you will be shocked how far that can go in keeping and winning clients – even when difficulties arise.
Protect and foster your personal brand, adhere to its core principles and treasure the connections it creates for you. The world and how we do business has changed significantly in recent years, but one thing has not – people do business with people they like. Create true connections and they will outlast the deal you are working on, the job you currently have and maybe even the company you now own.