Yes, your capabilities count, but it’s the way in which you perform that makes you valuable.
Let’s focus for a moment on personal branding. World renowned personal branding expert Dan Schwabel, author of Me 2.0 and the publisher of the Personal Branding Blog, says it’s how we market ourselves to others. Each and every one of us has a brand because we are constantly being judged based on first impressions.
Also, we are forced to sell our ideas and unique abilities to all stakeholders inside a company or as an entrepreneur. Personal branding is critical in a world filled with clutter, competition and ambiguity. To be a brand means to use similar branding strategies that corporations and products use to create an experience – a friendship – with an audience.
People trust people, and will therefore be more inclined to purchase your product or hire you based on their relationship with you or what they hear about you.
Schwabel’s four-step process for building a powerful brand
1. Discover: To really understand who you are and carve out a career path moving forward, investing in self-discovery is critical. In fact, if you don’t spend time learning about yourself, your values, personal mission, and unique attributes, you’ll be at a disadvantage when marketing your brand to others.
Start by removing yourself from distractions and ask yourself, “Who am I?” and, “If I could do anything, what would it be?”
2. Create: Your personal branding toolkit may consist of a blog, website, business card, CV, reference document, cover letter, portfolio, or even a LinkedIn profile. Each piece has to be consistent with the next and reflect the brand you discovered in Step 1.
3. Communicate: Now it’s time to use everything you’ve created to let people know you exist. By attending professional networking events, writing articles for websites, and putting on your ‘personal PR hat,’ pitch bloggers and traditional journalists to start gaining attention and recognition for the brand you created in Step 2.
4. Maintain: As you grow, mature, and accelerate in your career, everything you’ve created has to be updated and accurately represent the current ‘brand you.’ Also, you need to monitor your brand online to ensure all conversations about you are positive and factual. You can do this by using a combination of tools, including a Google Alert for your name.
Benefits of a personal brand
Just like corporate brands, people can demand a premium price (a higher salary). Also, you will become more visible and recognised by your peers, managers and other successful business people and entrepreneurs. With visibility comes speaking engagements, jobs, clients, celebrity and much more.
Aside from self-promotion, you’ll establish a professional and social network, which will protect you from an uncertain work environment. You’ll also learn how to own your Google results and protect and secure your online identity. Schwabel says the most important message in Me 2.0 is that in order to be successful in the new world of work, you have to be the commander of your career.
We cannot rely on our teachers, parents, managers and friends to make us successful. We have to take ownership of our careers and put our passions in motion, in order to achieve our dreams. To be a commander means to be authentic, transparent, confident, persistent and display leadership. Being a commander, much like the Alpha archetype, is a state-of-mind.