Have you taken the time to identify your career brand? If you have, congratulations, you’re way ahead of the crowd! A survey on branding reveals that less than “15 percent of people have truly defined their personal brand.”
If you’re that rare 15 percent-er, research discloses, “less than 5 percent are living it consistently.” So, are you walking and talking and demonstrating your brand or did you write it merely as an exercise and have long since shoved it to the back shelf?
What a mistake. Branding, in fact, is an investment for the long haul in your career. It is a short-cut revelation of you and all you bring to the table. As business guru, Tom Peters, confirms,
“The labor market worldwide is becoming astonishingly competitive and you can no longer expect to survive by being essentially an anonymous bureaucrat in a purchasing department or logistics department or engineering department, but you really have to stand for something….Come hell or high water from the beginning of your career you need to think about your areas of distinction.”
Why consider projecting something that you are not or never can be? Perhaps that’s why so few executives are living their brand as they weren’t candid with themselves in the first place. Taking the time to generate a brand for yourself is a wasted effort if it’s not the truth or if others, perceive you are not genuine, so this must be an honest appraisal.
A brand is intended to reveal who you are and what you’re able to contribute to the organization and those around you. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize unless you’re building one on an authentic foundation—both in sync with your organization and who you are—you will only harm yourself long-term.
Nor is it a replica of your black-and-white resume. It is more robust as it is you in living color, walking and talking, and interacting with others. In fact, your brand emerges out of your thoughts, words, deeds and online and offline presence. It also takes into account your goals and offers compelling hints of your untapped potential. In large part, this process is all about being recognized as the right person not merely for today, but for future work with greater responsibility.
On the other hand, if you don’t choose your brand, it will be chosen for you often by someone who doesn’t have the same skin in the game as you. Every day, as you move through your work life, you’re constructing your brand.
The question is—does it reflect the powerful, positive side of your business persona or are you becoming better known by the unconscious insecurities you express with those around you. You see you are always generating a brand—even if it is without thought.
Be fearless in being yourself—and translate that into your brand. Then, use it as your guiding light. That’s what a powerful brand is.
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