Building a Personal Brand

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					In today's market, branding is everything. No longer is it just corporations and
businesses that need to take heed of this advice in order to sell their products, but so
too do individuals. The business landscape is changing, and anyone who really wants
to get ahead needs to think like a brand manager. So what exactly does this mean?
  In short, an individual needs to cultivate an image for themselves that they tirelessly
promote through knowledge, experience, visibility and appearance. The idea itself is
quite simple although there may be some creativity and ingenuity required to
implement it successfully. This article acts as a start up guide for anyone wishing to
plan and execute a well thought out "rebrand" of themselves.
  Step 1 - What is unique or distinctive about you? Personal branding is all about
standing out. It is easy to become just another worker in just another company without
carving out a particular niche for yourself or creating a specific role to play. Think
about what service you offer better than anyone else. To make this an altogether easier
process, start by defining a list of qualities or character traits that set you apart from
your co-workers. Are you reliable or popular with customers? Do you solve problems
quickly before they have a chance to wreak havoc? Are you particularly good at
explaining tasks or projects to others? From the sublime to the ridiculous, make a list
of what makes you, you.
  Step 2 - Prepare a list of previous successes Successes can range from completing a
large project on time and on budget to reorganizing the stationary cupboard. Anything
and everything that you have done that you are proud of or that added value to the
company or the customer should be included in the list. These accomplishments will
be important later when you need to promote, promote, promote.
  Step 3 - Gain visibility This does not mean take out an ad in the paper or commission
a series of television adverts. Subtlety is the watchword for the next step in this master
plan. At this stage you should have defined your "uniqueness" and prepared a list of
accomplishments to which you have full bragging rights, now you just need to start
promoting these. This is where ingenuity comes into play because there is no end of
ways you can enhance or shape your reputation. Getting others to spread a positive
word about you is the most efficient way to raise your profile - perhaps there is a
project you could volunteer for that gets you working with new people in the
organization. Perhaps you could turn yourself into an "expert" by teaching colleagues
a certain skill you possess. Put your thinking cap on and there will be plenty of
opportunities to execute this part of the plan. Act with confidence and leadership and
your reputation with spread.
  Step 4 - Be aware that everything matters From the clothes you wear to how you
conduct meetings or write emails, everything is important when it comes to creating a
personal brand. Everything you do works together to provide colleagues, competitors
and customers with an overall impression of you. You need to be aware of this and
conduct yourself accordingly to create the right impression at all times.
  Step 5 - Be powerful Not only must you act confidently, but you should attempt to
gain greater power here and there wherever possible. This only requires a small
amount of work - perhaps offer to prepare the minutes of the meeting you just
attended. By doing this you get the power to choose how the meeting is recorded. You
could offer to construct the agendas too - thus allowing you greater power as to what
is discussed next time. Little strategic moves here and there will let you garner greater
power. So long as you capitalise on this by acting powerfully and with credibility your
personal stocks will soar.
  Step 6 - Ask for feedback Companies with products do this all the time. They put
together user groups who provide constructive feedback about the product or service
they are developing. This enables the company to make tweaks and alterations where
necessary in order to better serve the customer. Do the same with your personal brand.
Get feedback, comments and ask for input from colleagues and others in your
  Although this may seem like a lot of work, it is really just a question of making one
or two alterations to how you conduct business and interact with others. There may be
the odd additional task or project that you need to take on, but any additional work
now will pay off ten fold in the future. By applying these steps and acting in a
strategic way, you will see great success in your future with your new, personal
employment branding.
  You should also try and look at situations from a human capital management point of
view. What are your bosses looking for? What do they want from you? If you hit the
right notes then you could find yourself rising to the top. Effective leadership is a
major issue in organizations right now, and finding talent within a company is almost
always preferred to buying it in. Who knows, in a few years time you could be
making these decisions for the company!
  Andrea Watkins writes articles for Kenexa, a HR solutions provider of a series of
human capital management to help you source, hire and retain the best candidates
from around the world, and is especially effective when coupled with Employment
Branding . Kenexa also offer tools for research, career site development as well as
surveys to develop effective leadership which is foundational to increasing
performance, success and retaining talents within an organization.

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