Part 1: Why Personal Branding Matters
Personal branding matters in today’s work environment. It is one of the most effective ways that you have to differentiate yourself from your colleagues. If you are able to develop a clear and positive image that is readily associated with you by those who know you, then it becomes clearer to them what value you can offer when they have a problem that needs to be solved.
Most people already have a brand in the minds of those who know them. Whether you realise it or not, most people already have a sense of what they can expect from you. The challenge is that unless you are deliberately managing this image, you may be conveying something that you do not intend. You do however have the power to change that.
If you have ever heard someone say that they are surprised to know something about you, or someone say that they did not think to ask you to be a part of an activity or to answer a question then it is most likely that their image of you is not a complete representation of who you are. You of course, have to decide whether that is a problem for you. If you are completely comfortable with how you are currently perceived in your personal life and your profession or career, then you do not need to take any additional actions. However, if you would like to be seen in a way that is different from what currently exists then you will need to engage in a personal branding exercise. How do you decide whether personal branding is something that you need to do?
- By developing a personal brand, you set perceptions about who you are, what you stand for, how you will behave and what you can do. If you are not satisfied with how these elements of your brand are currently showing up, then you may want to develop a plan for conveying a clear message about yourself.
- If you have a personal brand, your colleagues, peers, superiors, direct reports, potential employers and customers will develop expectations of you based on the brand you define and live. This is a good thing because it enables everyone to know ahead of time what way you can help them when they need support. If this is not currently the case for you, if it is not readily known what you can contribute to an employer or a customer, then you may want to define your brand and decide for yourself, how you are going to live it.
It is important to note that personal branding is a long term approach to establishing yourself. It can allow you to expand the image that you may already have in the minds of those who know you. It allows you to carve out a niche for yourself that can positively impact your success throughout your career. It can also allow you to create clear perceptions of who you are and to convey readily what you can bring to the table. This is why it matters.