Now that you have started to establish the Brand New Brand You, it is important that you continually reinforce your personal brand. In this post I’ll focus on some key pointers that will keep Brand You fresh and at the front of people’s minds.
1. Deliver + 1%
This may seem obvious, but the best way to reinforce Brand You is to DELIVER. Whatever your role, if you consistently deliver to time, cost and quality expectations you’re reinforcing your personal brand. Delivering the extra 1% is how you will really differentiate Brand You. What do I mean by 1%? In short, exceed expectations. Going ‘the extra mile’ will get you noticed – by your managers, by your peers and by your customers. That doesn’t mean that you necessarily need to put in long hours every day, although sometimes that might be the case. In my career, I have found that ‘Rising Stars’ have gone the extra mile by:
Demonstrating a ‘Can Do’ attitude – People that embrace change initiatives, find ways around problems, take ownership of tasks through to conclusion and are passionate about their job make a difference and are invaluable to high performing teams.
Being a self-starter – People that spot an opportunity to fix a problem, come up with the solution and implement it effectively drive continuous improvement helping their team be more effective and / or efficient.
Continuously looking at ways to improve themselves – People that consistently ask questions with a view to improving themselves, ask to be involved in key initiatives and drive their own personal development planning are often ‘stars’ of the future.
Always thinking of their customer’s needs – People that can think beyond the specific task and ask themselves about why they are doing it in a certain way and putting themselves in their customer’s shoes. By doing this they may change or enhance the delivery or even change a process for the better.
Helping others – People that continually support their colleagues in delivery not only help their teams achieve but build a strong reputation with their peers and help build strong professional relationships.
Putting themselves forward for new projects – People that work beyond their job descriptions and volunteer for those important projects that often come up and just need to be done.
2. Express yourself and your passions
Being confident in communicating with your peers, managers, customers or your network is a very important part of reinforcing Brand You. It’s not something that comes naturally for everyone, myself included, but is something you should practice at every opportunity. Try to put yourself into situations that require you to speak about your views and passions; whether that be key meetings internally or speaking at external meetings or events and with new people you bring into your network.
Remember to be consistent with your brand values and your vision statement. Plan in advance to ensure that you make the most of the opportunity and that you present yourself effectively.
3. Build influence with key stakeholders
Who are the key people who could influence your career for the better? Who could be an advocate for the Brand New Brand You?
Understanding the answers to these two questions will help you understand where you need to exert effort in reinforcing Brand You. As long as you have identified the right people, building strong relationships with these individuals will have a positive impact on your career. Below I’ve highlighted some areas that you may want to spend some time thinking about before you engage with stakeholders.
a) Be patient. Building strong relationships and influence takes time and could take months or longer.
b) Be respectful. It is highly likely that the stakeholders you have identified are more senior than you and are likely to be extremely busy people. Be respectful of their time and position when making any requests of them.
c) Be committed to the stakeholders’ success. By gaining an understanding of what is important to them professionally, you can then potentially support them in achievement of their objectives.
d) Be able to put yourself in their ‘Shoes’. Often, concerns will not be vocalised, particularly if there’s not yet a degree of trust in the relationship. Try and see the world from your stakeholders’ perspective and anticipate how a particular stakeholder may respond to what you have to say. By addressing concerns from their perspective before they raise them you will start to build trust and will help you progress your ideas or proposals.
e) DELIVER (No apologies for mentioning ‘Deliver’ twice in this post!). Whatever you agree to do for or with your stakeholders, make sure you deliver against your promises. Nothing will hurt brand you more than non-delivery.
4. Join like-minded people
A key way of building your network and Brand You is to join professional organisations. It is better to belong to fewer organisations and take an active role (board position or volunteer role) than to belong to many with superficial connections to the membership. Truly participating allows you to get to know people and build strong, enduring relationships.
If there isn’t a professional organisation that feels right to you, create one. It can be a physical organization or a virtual one. Being the founder of the organisation gives you instant credibility with your entire membership and an opportunity to define and evolve it. And with the opportunity to build private social networking groups on the web, it’s as easy as it is valuable.
Volunteering is a great way to build professional relationships while contributing to the community. Take a volunteer position that allows you to use your strengths or develop new skills. Your network will grow along with your sense of fulfilment and accomplishment.
6. Continue to create and grow your online content
In Part 4 of this series, I talked about contributing to industry forums, writing blogs or contributing to other blogs to create an online presence for the Brand New Brand You. Keep it up! Building an online following takes time and effort, but if you create strong content, it will start to build your credibility with your network and drive growth of your network.
7. Keep Networking
To be truly successful building Brand You, you need to be continuously making new connections while at the same time nurturing the relationships you have. Remember, if you take the attitude that it is about you, you will be less successful in retaining your network. But if you treat your network as a group of people you serve and support, your experience will be much more positive and you will attract what you need to be successful.
That concludes the fourth step in START. Good luck with Reinforcing Brand New, Brand You – let me know you get on!
In the last post in the series of The Brand New, Brand You, I will be covering the fifth and final step in the START process, Test.