Your brand is a window to who you are, what you do, and what you’re known for. Building your brand is a proactive strategy. You can’t afford to be reactive.
What do you want to be known for? How do you want others to see your potential?
If you don’t define yourself, your role and your value for others, those same people will define it for you.
“Branding demands commitment; commitment to continual re-invention and striking chords with people to stir their emotions”. Sir Richard Branson
Are you better known for your results or your potential?
The internal promotion Jenny hoped for was given to an external recruit and she felt gutted. As she reflected on her dedication, work ethic, and reliable delivery over the last 3 years, she realised that she’d relied on her results to speak for themselves. And in the process she hadn’t done enough to position her brand across the chief executive team. What would ‘enough’ in your role to the level above look like? How likely are you to get tapped on the shoulder right now?
Women in particular struggle to talk about their accomplishments. In a recent workshop I ran, about half the room of middle-management women relied on their results speaking for them. It’s a trap.
Your brand worth is your business worth
While you have to achieve results in order for people to see your potential, there’s a tipping point at which your brand starts working for you. Reaching that point relies on you being able to communicate your results and value to others in a way that positions you for future opportunity. Here’s how.
Four practical steps to kick-start proactively building your brand
Step One: Invest in relationships
Building internal relationships – up, across and down – as well building open networks is a “must do”, not a “nice to do” after the work is done. Like anything, if you want to be good at relationships, you have to walk your talk and invest time, energy and your generosity to make them a focus.
Step Two: Be clear about who you are and what you’ve got to offer
Be able to articulate:
- What you’re really good at and how your strengths contribute to your results in a way that others ‘get you’ and what you love doing.
- What you want to do: the experiences, projects, and future roles you’re interested in. You don’t have to be ambitious. However, if no one knows what you want, how can people connect you to the opportunities you want?
- Your work and the value of your results. Why do they matter? To whom? Highlighting your work helps to position you as an “expert” in something – it matters.
- What change you’ve led – what have you improved, optimised or transformed – and how’s that helped your organisation?
Step three: Create opportunities that position your brand
Think about who you can meet with, get in front of, present to, and brainstorm with who can help take your role results and business function to the next level. Remember that the value is in the conversation and exploration, not in presenting the perfect strategy or having the right answer every time.
Step four: Keep up to date with what’s trending in your profession
Relevant facts establish credibility so have an opinion and show that you’re informed.
Bringing it all together
Ultimately if you are highly regarded for what you do and the value you create, it makes career progression that much easier. Building your brand proactively is your responsibility – no one else’s. What are you going to start getting known for? I’d love to know.