THE BLOG

BRAND YOU: How To Build A Personal Brand To Enhance Career Success

02/05/2013 18:47 BST | Updated 08/10/2013 10:16 BST

The human mind is a strange thing. It combines the conscious and the unconscious, the rational and the irrational. People act as the mind asks them to do. If somebody or something can influence the human mind, behaviours can be altered. Companies spend millions each year strategizing and investing in building, managing and communicating their brand in a bid to influence the minds of current and potential customers.

Brand is at the center of corporate strategy. Some say it is the most valuable asset a company can have. Furthermore, it is a primary strategic asset as regards both competitive strategy and sustainable competitive advantage.

Embracing the branding techniques used by corporate's and applying them to ourselves, could be instrumental in gaining competitive advantage in the job market place, by helping you differentiate yourself, stand out from the crowd and win that next promotion, role or even transcend into a new career altogether.

If Brand You is the most important capital asset that you have then a brand strategy is essential to managing that asset effectively. If we do not know what we stand for; and if we are not driving what we stand for into the minds of current or future employees, influences and stakeholders; and if what we stand for isn't unique, well-articulated, well presented and accountable then we have not yet positioned ourselves correctly. When such a unique position is not clear, we are not leveraging our own personal attributes into positive outcomes or creating a competitive advantage upon which to build ongoing career success.

In other words, if you want to go places, build your career you need to get clear on who you are and what you stand for, why you're great and most importantly, how you are different and then, shout about it. But not literally, of course. Investing in the branding journey, defining and communicating your unique selling points, will help you to not just identify the value you can bring an organisation, but also the type of roles or companies that are aligned to your talents, interests and values. Individuals with identical skill sets and talents, but different values, can forge totally different career paths.

As a brand strategist, I work with both companies and people helping my clients communicate their story. I have had the pleasure to work with public personalities from the UK and across the pond in Hollywood. Although most of us aren't in the public spotlight walking the red carpet, the essence of building a positive personal brand is one and the same.

• Acknowledge the idea that you have a brand and that you can harness it to accelerate your

career.

• To be a brand is to have meaning beyond your name.

• What are people saying about your brand? How are you being perceived? Is it how you want

to be valued. If you don't brand yourself, someone else will.

• No one knows better than you what makes you different and special.

• Define your brand - its not your job title or your companies but a blend of your experience,

accomplishments, strengths, skills, your values, and personality. Unearth the real you.

• Integral to your brand are the core values that define you. The innate you, what you stand for

and how you live your life. Act in a way that reinforces these values.

• Communicate your brand promise and values to current or new employee's to win trust and

show how you are different. Use storytelling techniques to connect emotionally and separate

yourself from other job seekers.

• Continually check in with trusted friends, colleagues or coach to see that your identity (what

you think you stand for) is in line with your brand image (how others see you).

• Create a polished and consistent visual identity (dress, attire, grooming, personal style). We

live in a visual world and image talks.

• Be mindful of the messages you are sending; ensure they are congruent to what you say you

are. Every choice and action sends a message and tells a story about you which could either

positively or negatively affect your Personal Brand impacting your reputation, promotion and

career opportunities. Enter brand expressions - what you wear, social and business etiquette,

personal style, verbal communications, body language, behaviour are just some of the ways

we communicate our story.

• In Hollywood, the epicenter of people brand creation having a distinct point of view is no bad

thing. In a crowded market place, standing for something is the one thing a brand can rely

upon to be more noticeable. A little polarity goes a long way but must be done in a authentic

manner and with integrity if it is to be believable.

• The underpinning of building a great brand: clarity and consistency, combined also with an

enormous dose of authenticity.

Brand management regardless whether a company or an individual is an ongoing journey. It never stops. It's about embracing all things that a company does and a person is and about caring about your business or self at every level and in every detail.

I would personally highly recommend you take the journey. Get clear, get proud and get skilled on communicating your brand to others, because it really can have a profound impact and be a deciding factor in your personal happiness and career success.