Personal Branding and Career Success

On Monday, I did a talk about life and career success for one of my large corporate clients.  Most of the questions I got were about personal branding while working for a large corporation. 

I believe that if you want to create the career success you deserve, you need a strong personal brand.  It’s only common sense.  Tweet 61 in my career advice book, Success Tweets says, “Create and nurture your unique personal brand.  Stand and be known for something.  Make sure that everything you do is on brand.”

What products come to mind when you think of great brands? Coca Cola?  Levis? The New York Times?  Apple?  Scotch Tape? All of these come to my mind when I hear the word brand.  People can be brands too: LeBron James, Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart, are all strong brands. In fact, all of the people I’ve mentioned above are all readily recognizable by their first names.  That’s the power of branding.

If you want to create the life and career success you want and deserve, you need to brand yourself too.  Your personal brand differentiates you from everyone else in the world.  My brand is The Common Sense Guy

Because of my brand, people know that they can rely on me to provide them with common sense career success advice that will help them reach their life and career success goals.  They also know that they will get this career advice in a straightforward, easy to understand and apply manner, because after all, I’m just a guy.

You need to spend time crafting your brand.  Your brand is the two or three words you want people to associate with you.  Decide what you want these words to be, and then go about making sure that all of the people with whom you come into contact think of you that way. 

When my name comes up, I want people to think of two things – “common sense,” and “guy.”  I do everything I can to get people to think of me this way.  My writing is simple, straightforward and to the point.  The career advice I give my career success coach clients is always based on ideas they can put to use immediately — never filled with a lot of theory, even though it is based on the latest, most up to date life and career success literature. 

Taking time to build your personal brand is important because nature abhors a vacuum.  If you don’t brand yourself, others will.  It’s better to be in control of your personal brand by creating it yourself, than it is to let others create it for you. 

Here’s a real life example.  I have a very successful friend.  He just sold his high profile advertising agency for  lots of money.  We met when we were both working for a very large Fortune 500 company.  My friend is a fun guy, a big sports fan and very witty.  Somehow his fun personality got him tagged as “immature.”  This is ironic because he is one of the most mature and hard working people I know. 

No matter, his immature brand cost him several promotions at the company where we worked.  Whenever his name came up in promotion discussions, the dreaded “immature” tag came up too.  He finally had to leave that company and begin someplace anew where he could establish a more positive brand and create his career success

It worked out well for him, as he is entrepreneurial by nature and is much happier running his own company, than he would be working in a very large corporation.

Let this story be a lesson to you.  If you don’t brand yourself, others will – and sometimes the brand with which your stuck may not be the brand you want.  Pay attention here.  This is important career advice.

Creating a strong personal brand is simple conceptually.  Ask and answer these simple questions:  “How do I want people to think of me?”  “What words do I want to people to use to describe me?” 

Think about these questions.  Take your time.  Don’t settle for the first answer.  Work to come up with the one that truly describes how you want to brand yourself.  Then – and this is very important career advice — do whatever it takes to make sure that other people think of you that way.  In other words act in a manner that consistently and constantly promotes the brand you’ve chosen for yourself.

For example, if you decide that “hard working” is a term with which you would like others to associate with you, then work hard.  Do your assignments well and on time.  When you finish one task, ask for another.  Come early, stay late.  Ask questions to help you understand the business.  Pretty soon, people will begin thinking of you as a hard worker – “someone who does everything we ask, and then asks for more.”  Once this happens, you’ll know that you’re on your way to creating your own special and unique personal brand as a hard worker.

The important thing is to choose your brand, then consistently and constantly do the things that will build the brand that is uniquely you.  That’s why I blog.  That’s why I write books.  My books are short.  They are not filled with a lot of fluff – in my opinion fluff and common sense don’t work together. 

That’s why Success Tweets is written as a series of tweets – common sense information, presented in a down to earth, easily readable manner.  That’s also why I write a blog post five days a week.  Common sense says that some people will want more than 140 characters on some of the career advice in Success Tweets.

The common sense career success coach point here is simple.  Successful people are clear on their purpose and direction in life.  They commit to taking personal responsibility for their success.  They are confident and competent.  The ability to create positive personal impact is one of four key competencies that all successful people have mastered.  Developing and nurturing your unique personal brand is the first step in creating positive personal impact.  Follow the career advice in Tweet 61 in Success Tweets.  “Create and nurture your unique personal brand.  Stand and be known for something.  Make sure that everything you do is on brand.”  There are two steps to building your personal brand.  1) Figure out how you want others to think of you.  2) Consistently and constantly act in a manner that will get them to think this way.

That’s my career advice on personal branding.  What do you think?  What is your brand?  What do you do to consistently and constantly promote it?  Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  And, thanks for reading these musings on life and career success.  I really appreciate you and value your feedback.


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