In business, a brand encompasses a company’s overall image and positioning in its respective market or industry. It’s what distinguishes one company from a competitor. Similar to a company’s brand, a strong personal brand also relates to one’s overall image and affords the same benefits of visibility, consumer loyalty, value, and credibility. It’s what makes you stand out among others in the job market.
As head of one of the most successful multicultural advertising agencies in the nation, Monique Nelson, knows a thing or two about successfully creating and marketing a brand. BlackEnterprise.com recently caught up with the Uniworld Group CEO for seven steps to developing and effectively marketing your own personal brand.
BE AN EXPERT: “When you’re talking about developing your brand as a professional person in a particular industry, you should be an expert in that industry,” Nelson says. “I always brand myself first and foremost as a marketer.” It’s Nelson’s personal love for the human condition that excites her every day, she adds. She urges professionals to learn as much as they can in their desired industries, and to always be prepared to answer questions.
BUILD CONNECTIONS: Nelson says she views the people she meets as focus groups, and shares ideas between new contacts, friends and family. She even asks her colleagues, “What do you think?” when it comes to ideas, concepts and possible collaborations and partnerships.
KNOW YOUR OBJECTIVE: You have to have a goal. “Ask yourself, ‘What do I want? What does my brand represent? What is my mission?’” Nelson says. It would be the same for any organization or company.
PACE YOURSELF TO SHOW PROGRESS: You want to have stellar work that gets better over time. Build up a plan that will promote and accommodate constant growth and advancement or push you to do bigger and better.
LEAD BY EXAMPLE: “I speak a lot to my team, do townhalls, breakfast with the CEO, and I try to do 1 on 1’s with everyone on my staff. I give them counsel and ask for them to do the same. “It’s important to practice what you preach,” says Nelson.
THINK WITH CONTINGENCY IN MIND: You must be proactive and think about any challenges or issues that may arise so you can be a prepared as possible. Nelson says she is always looking for a way to work around an issue to understand it better. For Nelson, it provides a deeper understanding of the industry she works in. “I have always been one of those people that would look for the problem to solve. I think that’s crucial in finding out what you’re capable of.”
ADD THE FUN FACTOR: “Life is too short,” Nelson says. “When you put in the work, you should always celebrate by inviting people into your world.”