The brand of “YOU”. Have one? Need one?

A brand is not simply a word. It’s what comes to one’s mind when they hear a name. Let me give you names of a few companies and think about what is the first thing that comes to your mind outside of the products/services that they are known for.

Google, Comcast, Uber, Walmart, Bank of America, Apple, General Motors & the last restaurant you visited.

What ever word you associated these companies with, outside of their core product is the actual brand they have established in the marker place.

Same way, do you have a personal “brand” at work? What is it ? What are you known for among your peers, stakeholders, employees & managers? Do you need a personal brand?

Having a positive personal brand / identity is critical to one’s success. The brand of “YOU” is nothing but the unique identity that people recognize you for at work. Some have a positive personal brand, some a negative brand and some don’t have a brand at all. That could be a differentiator in the talent pool, both internally & externally. But, its not as easy as it sounds. Building the brand of “YOU” is a journey that one needs to embark, plan, market & sell at every opportunity without coming across as too self centered.

For a moment, think about your co-workers or if you are a people manager, think about your team members. You can easily start to associate most of them with a unique brand.

  • Peter is a great data analyzer, he can simplify any complex data to meaningful business insights.
  • Lisa is an amazing sales person, convincer. She needs to be a part of the budget approval meetings, there is no one else better than Lisa to articulate the business case to the Executive VP to get the funds approved.
  • Kumar is an operations guru, If any metrics need to be improved across any of the teams , he s the first choice. He is the make it happen guy!
  • Beth is a super strategist, she can take any process/product and build a long term strategy with a structured internal & external branding & marketing plan.

At the same time, I am sure you have a few coworkers / team members to whom you could not associate a brand with. I bet, in most cases, ones whom you were able to associate a brand with are considered top performers while the ones you could not associate a brand with are average to low performers. Successful people know what their brands are and use every available opportunity to prove, emphasize, market and sell their personal brand.

By the way, the brand of ‘you’ is not always positive, some have a negative brand. I don’t want to name what those negative ones can be but I am sure when you were thinking of some folks, the first thing that came to your mind as their brand was not a positive one. With that said, its not about just having a positive brand but ensuring that you dont have a negative brand at work.

So, where do you embark the journey of the brand of “YOU”?
I use something called the closed-eyes-brand-of-YOU test to evaluate the brand of “YOU”. Find a peaceful and quiet place, if you are a wine drinker like me, I would strongly recommend a glass full. We are going to do some deep thinking here!

STEP 1 – Let’s start with you: Close your eyes and think about what you are known for at work outside of meeting metrics. What do you do REALLY, REALLY well beyond meeting metrics? What is your differentiation factor? If you were able to answer this question, you have a head start. Else, thats the start to your journey. Spend considerable time asking this question over the next few weeks, months till you are able to answer this question. Talk to your peers, friends, family & manager. They may be able to help. It’s not as easy as you might think, but a critical step to success.

STEP 2 – Your peers & stakeholders: Close your eyes again, similar to how you assessed the brand of your peers earlier in this article, what would your peers say is your personal brand? Will they have one? Will it be positive or negative? Is it the same as what you perceived your brand to be? If different, why?

STEP 3 – Your manager & employees: It’s time to close the eyes once again. This time around, ask the question, what would your employees and manager say is your personal brand. Think about it!

If all the 3 steps point to the same 1 or 2 specific areas as your personal brand, you are well on your way to the top and you have identified your biggest strength and have been successfully building & marketing that as your personal brand at work. If its not that clear, this is your developmental opportunity to identify, build and market the brand of YOU.

Every successful leader in this world, be it business leaders or political leaders, knew what their personal brands were and maximized it to make a difference to the world and their personal careers. Can think of some popular leaders and identify what their personal brand were: Mahatma Gandhi? Nelson Mandela? Abraham Lincoln? Jack Welch? Larry Page? Bill Gates? Steve Jobs?

If you are an individual with high expectations and have aspirations to reach greater heights in your career then defining, executing & marketing the brand of ‘YOU’ is critical to your success.  Wish you all the best!

About the Author: For more information, contact Balakarthik Venkataramanan at LinkedIn Profile:

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