An impressive CV, excellent references and a convincing presence are no longer enough to secure a coveted position in the boardroom. Competition in the business world is cut throat. A good personal branding strategy has a strong influence on whether you succeed or fail in your aspirations for career advancement.
Positioning yourself as a brand
Personal branding means being clear on your strengths and competencies and using these to form your core brand. It is important to align yourself closely with this inner credibility, this is the way to establish yourself as a brand. Integrity is crucial: Do not pretend to be something you are not, not to yourself nor to others. This is the key to creating your personal brand.
Why should I become a brand?
Imagine you want to buy a top of the range laptop. You have your wallet out and are poised to make your decision – no-name or brand product. Which one would you choose? The majority of people would opt for the brand product, because it promises a level of quality that gives guidance, creates an emotional reaction and builds trust.
The same applies to your personal brand: It channels your strengths and encourages an emotional response from the viewer. Your personal brand supports you in your quest to distinguish yourself from other candidates, in exactly the same way that we associate a high quality of standard with certain products.
The five steps to creating your brand
Step one: Self reflection
Think about the positive qualities you possess that have contributed to your success so far. Which competencies, skills and character traits were responsible? Ask yourself what skills assist you in successfully completing different tasks, and for what reason your colleagues come to you for advice. This is the way to build your core brand competencies.
It is also important to include your personal strengths, which at first glance might appear to be unrelated to your career. Are you a passionate marathon runner? Endurance and the ability to push yourself to your limits are important strengths that should be reflected in your personal brand.
Step two: Ask others for their opinion
It is possible that you view yourself differently to those around you. Use your inner network as a regulator. Ask friends and family members, as well as your professional circle, what it is they appreciate about you. In this way you will gain a comprehensive picture of yourself and your effect on others.
Small side note: Remember, this is about your positive qualities and attributes. Be open to new perspectives from others, especially when they differ from your own perception.
Step three: Weigh up the outcomes carefully
Now it is time to work through the results of your self reflection and feedback from others, and determine the most significant outcomes. Narrow down three or four arguments and line them up with your successes and achievements. Think about how these main points define your day to day work.
You could include diplomatic skills, structural change execution and analytical expertise in your brand. The evidence for this is that you regularly manage structural changes and are considered an expert in your field by your colleagues and superiors.
Step four: Create a slogan
The next step is to develop a slogan. Take your three or four core arguments and use them to create your personal mantra. Think about how this message conveys reliability, motivation and visionary charisma. For example: Using the points from step three we could create the slogan “Senior manager with highly developed analytical skills and diplomatic expertise, accomplished in implementing change management processes”.
Step five: Live your brand!
It should now be clear to you why it is important to develop an honest personal brand. It is essential that the way you live matches your message. Do not create an illusion, stay true to your brand and match it with your career. You career network should also know as soon as possible what you and your brand stand for.
The most important point to reiterate is not to create a false image of yourself. It is not about winning a popularity contest, instead it is imperative that your core persona is on display and lifts you out of the masses. You will benefit from truly living your brand, only then will the result be the level of quality that attracts the right employer.
About the author:
Jakob Osman is a leading expert in personal marketing and employer branding. As the head of agency Junges Herz, Jakob produces regular articles for Experteer Magazine on personal marketing, recruiting videos and social recruiting.