Identify and understand audience needs. Personal branding is not all about you, it is also about the audience. “Understand the needs and meet them better than everyone else,” said Bence. If you do not know what your boss needs of you, ask, because their needs may have changed. Be specific and assess what is important for the company. To connect your strengths and skills with company needs, look at opportunities that are in the marketplace and research trends. Converse with upper management to see if your brand character matches the company’s brand character.
Be consistent over time. “To see someone’s true personal brand, watch how they react to adverse events,” said Bence. While you cannot control what happens to you, you can control how you act, so maintain a level head. “The people who do well in economic downturns manage their reactions,” adds Bence. “It’s really important not to overreact in a negative way.”
Kaplan Mobray, author of The 10Ks of Personal Branding and U.S. diversity programs leader at Deloitte, recommends three immediate changes anyone can make in their life to build their personal brand now.
Get Google to say something about you. Join social networking sites and start responding to online blogs that pertain to an area you are interested in so that the internet has something to say about you because it is the first place people look.
Volunteer both inside and outside of the office. Increase your value through work with a charity or organization and use the opportunity to network. Also volunteer for assignments at work that give you the change to build and practice strengths.
Innovate. Stand out from the pack by coming up with new ideas to drive growth in your company and give yourself staying power.
This article appeared in the July 2009 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.