What’s In A Brand?

Honest, enduring, flexible, futurist, multi-channeled, compassionate, and optimistic  define Jeffrey Bowman’s personal brand. Bowman, partner and associate director of marketing strategy at Ogilvy, recently moved from the client side of marketing to the agency side. To help the transition, Bowman used a “brand value proposition document,” which he developed years ago to supplement his résumé  and tell employers why they should hire him. The core values stay the same, while the attributes change as you gain experience. The key components of it are your positioning statement, what differentiates you from others; value drivers, things that support your positioning; proof points, accomplishments you have made that uphold your claims; and brand characters, your personal attributes. With the document and a clearly defined brand Bowman says, “It was much easier for my elevator pitch, my confidence in terms of what I wanted, and for the most part it made me fearless in terms of ‘I offer something of value and here’s why we should partner.’”

Following Bowman’s example by identifying and communicating your personal brand in the workplace is essential during this economic crisis.  With numerous layoffs occurring, people need “to differentiate themselves among the masses of other professionals with similar experiences,” says Carol Watson, president of executive search consulting firm Tangerine-Watson. Personal brand management includes your appearance, how your presence is perceived, your talents and skills and how they align with the organization as well as how they are communicated through relationships and your network. To assess your brand, identify 10 words describing yourself and ask a group of trusted peers to do the same.  Compare your self-evaluation with everyone else’s to see whether you like your brand image or want to change or improve upon it.

These tips will help you better define and effectively communicate your personal brand at work to become a valuable and indispensable team member.

Define what you want to stand for. This means “the way you want people to perceive, think, and feel about you in relation to others on the job” according to Brenda Bence, founder and president of Brand Development Associates International Ltd., a firm specializing in developing corporate and personal brands worldwide. Have a list of reasons why people should believe you can deliver on certain strengths. “People of color tend to stay focused on doing the work and don’t spend enough time making sure people know about them as a total human being,” says Watson. “The best way to move forward is to make sure you’re managing the image you want to get across and how you want to be perceived.”

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