Your Personal Brand: A Career Asset

Brand You

Brand YouThink Steve Jobs and you think: creative – inspired – maverick. From his early days Steve Jobs was an innovator and a stickler for perfection. Famous for his out-of-the-box thinking and for rejecting everything that did not meet his idea of perfection, these qualities became synonymous with his company and products.

Think of Warren Buffet, Indira Nooyi, Ratan Tata, or for that matter any person around you working in your organisation, and a few adjectives will immediately jump to your mind. You usually have an adjective or two to define someone who might be a colleague, a business associate or even a member of the Board. You will repeat these when you talk about the person to somebody else and  this will build his / her brand equity. It is that simple. In your workspace too, the principle remains the same. Your talent, actions and decisions create an impression on your associates contributing to your personal brand equity. Depending on how you actually are or want to be perceived, these impressions will prove to be negative or positive. Simply put, anything that leads people to look upon you favorably is a positive contribution to your brand equity and vice versa.

The image or brand equity you create for yourself is today a career asset that enhances your value in the market Here’s how to use personal branding to further your career growth

What is Brand You?
The earlier you start on consciously projecting ‘Brand You’ the better. To begin, identify the key factors that make you truly indispensable to your organization and your field. Identify strengths and achievements that make others look up to you. Now, make every step, decision and interaction reflect these. You are the brand you project.

Consistency is the key
Behaving in a particular way at one point of time and exactly the opposite in another  will send confused messages on what you stand for. Reference checks should reflect synonymous opinions about you across your experience. Your achievements as well as new qualities should only add to your brand as you grow. . For a sales head with a leading company, his ability to downsize during the recession without creating bad blood was considered a mark of his great people skills and sound business sense. Honing and highlighting this as his super-ability, he confesses, has given him major leaps in his career.

Put it out there loud and clear
It is the age of social media.  So all your profiles need to be up to date and yes, consistent. Use social media to differentiate yourself by providing an exact description of what you do rather than just your job title. These profiles should reflect your soft skills too. The same applies to your resume.

But in social media too, honesty is truly the best policy. Be what you truly are.  You are unique after all. That’s the secret of all great brands, isn’t it?

It’s never too late to re-brand

The stereotypes of retirement don’t apply any more. Even at 50, you can still look at years of productivity and by this time you will also have a lot more clarity on who you are, what makes you tick, and what you want.. So if you are at a crossroads and think you need to work at something different, then go ahead, re-brand yourself. You can drive new value for your self, though that might mean an investment and new realities as well.

Unlock the full potential of your personal brand equity to reach the career heights you deserve. Good luck.

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