Stand apart with a personal brand

Dec 29 2006 by Patricia Soldati Print This Article

Today's marketplace is crowded with smart, talented executive look-alikes busy networking the old-fashioned way. They're still wrapped up in the recruiter-resume merry-go-round, hoping it will magically leapfrog them up the corporate ladder or land them a top job.

But in the new world of work, the old-fashioned way virtually guarantees you will stay lost in the crowd.

Instead, imagine you have a reputation so strong - and convey it so well that the marketplace comes to you. It recognizes your personal value and seeks you out for your unique talents and accomplishments.

Imagine standing apart from your peers, utterly confident in expressing your distinctiveness as business leader and human being.

In our new world of work, your reputation, or personal brand, is the currency that sets you apart.

Whether you are looking to move up the corporate ladder at your current organization, find a position at another company, make a major career change or start your own enterprise, a personal brand works like a magnet, attracting all the visibility and opportunity you need to achieve your goals.

Personal branding is a strategy that allows you to shape (or reshape) how others perceive you, create visibility and drive demand for your services. Kind of like the get-off-your-backside energy in the Nike swoosh. Or the down home, "we'll stand by it" promise of L.L. Bean.

It's about letting your business colleagues - and the world, for that matter - know exactly what you stand for. Your brand synthesizes your business themes and accomplishments as well as your personal attributes in a way that powerfully conveys who you are. It is based in your authenticity and held in the hearts and minds of those around you.

Sounds easy, huh? And it's true, the result is a disarmingly simple compilation of achievements, gifts and talents. But if you're attempting it on your own, it's a thought process guaranteed to burn a few brain cells.

According to one personal branding guru, William Aruda, it requires that you identify your personal assets and communicate your unique promise of value, clearly and consistently, by following these five steps:

1. Through a process of self-discovery, determine your goals, vision, values and passions.

2. Since perceptions are everything when it comes to building your brand, get 360* feedback from colleagues, past and present.

3. Define your brand community among whom do you want to publicize your brand?

4. Develop your brand statement around the talents that make you unique. (This will become the foundation for your written and spoken marketing materials -- resume, personal pitches, public relations interviews,, etc.

5. Communicate your brand story create a communications plan that publicizes and sustains your brand.

At this point, you might be wondering if every executive needs a personal brand. The answer is yes, yes, and yes!

If you want to thrive at the highest levels of corporate life and build a legacy of contribution and change, you need to manage your career with the same "mission-critical" mentality that you bring to your business initiatives; a personal brand has become an integral part of such career management.

And even if you're delightfully happy where you are, and have no plans to "move up and out", your brand is insurance that you won't fade into the corporate woodwork.

In fact, think of it this way: after all of your years of hard work and accomplishment, you absolutely owe yourself a compelling personal brand.

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About The Author

Patricia Soldati
Patricia Soldati

Patricia Soldati is a former President & COO of a national finance organization who re-invented her working life in 1998. As a career fulfillment specialist, she helps corporate professionals enhance their working lives both within the organization and by leaving it behind.

Older Comments

Great ideas. Every college student should be taught the concept of personal branding before graduation.

Eric Brown

I moved back to Virginia with a new car, and started a new job as a security officer at the Mall. I seems to be getting railroaded from getting another job, because my fellow security officers and the Mall management, want to trumped up stupid lies, And what make some women and other minority groups who do not mind their own business and try to reverse prejudice in my life, and I have a new car I need to make payments on, and they do not want me to make alot of money. I go to the library to use the computer, and I noticed other women of all races, keep gossiping looking my way, what are you all trying to do. It seems everyone like intervening in each other lives, and it shows people being greedy, making me lose my job after two and a half weeks. I like to get along with everyone when I work as a security officer, and later I knew I was a third wheel working at the mall along with another officer, who gossips along with some of the store workers, and vendors. I was literally pushed out of the job. I deserved a second chance to work elsewhere as a security officer. I feel confident in myself when I work as a security officer, and the occupation I like to retire from until I am 70 years, I am a top guard in how I handle certain situation. I don't go around running my mouth to everybody,like some people I have worked with. I am studying to get my associate degree in criminal justice, and thinking about going to the police department. If the celebities can do it, so can I. What is wrong with the way I look, we are all not perfect, If I don't work as a security officer, I cannot go to the dentist to get dentures to replace my rotten teeth The two security officers like to act like they are superior over me, and I been a security officer working in California for 4 and 1/2 years, I bet they have not been working security except 2 months. There were alot of things the mall management says that were fabricated where they wanted me not to come back, and there is only room for two officers not three. Maybe it is to see how well I can work with others. Other people who finds us officers doing our jobs well, and there were a few nights I worked at the Mall alone, and closing. I did not do anything wrong, or make the stores lose any money. It is a joke. One person looks like Dr. Phil, has this thing about my car does not have tags on it. I am still waiting for California to send me mu tags amd registration. But I have to drive my car to apply for another job. Wonder woman terminated me because the mall management do not want me to work there anymore. Murphy Law is all over that mall, and it is not my fault. I did my job the best of my ability and was trained by two security officers who work the same way. Not one person is perfect, thanks to Ugly Betty. I like to have my own reality show. That were be interesting idea for Hollywood. A reality show of me working as a security officer.

Brenda Virginia

Great concept. Would have appreciated an example of a successful 'brand', within an industry/concept. Thanks!