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Professional Branding

Attributes + impact = reputation

Several years ago, I added personal branding to my coaching services and was pleasantly surprised by the feedback from my clients. My clients reported that honing in on their brand resulted in increased career satisfaction, engagement, and productivity. They had a new sense of confidence and the energy to be more visible and proactive in their careers. One client explained that he felt like he had more influence and people had begun to listen to him at meetings. He had a more assertive voice and was really proud of his unique brand, which was “detail-oriented, analytical, collaborative, and results-driven.”

Attributes

One component of your brand is your brand attributes. These are the adjectives that best describe you—for example, team player, energetic, detail-oriented, strategic, enthusiastic, confident, questioning, and collaborative. The four attributes I use to describe my brand are motivating, enthusiastic, positive, and resilient. I see these four words woven into almost everything I do. Even my hobby of being a Girl Scout leader reflects these attributes, and my entire business model focuses on them.

When you think about your personal brand, what comes to mind? What three skills or competencies make you stand out? Are you an incredible problem-solver, a team-builder, or a visionary? If you have no idea what your brand is, and this results in being in an unfulfilling job, you will definitely at some point feel frustrated, burned out, and even depressed.

Impact

Another component of your brand is impact. Impact is the difference you make in your organization. It’s the magic ingredient for keeping your brand alive. You can have amazing degrees and credentials, but if you are not making a difference, why should an organization keep you or involve you in the most exciting or innovative projects? If you have established what your positive impact is, and your position or department gets

eliminated, you will have the confidence to look for and land another position because you are driving for results, not just going through the motions.

Reputation

The attributes that describe you and the impact you make in your career combine to form your reputation. Reputation is a word that has different meanings for different people, but when it comes to branding, I think of reputation as the perception people inside and outside your organization have of you.

Why is this important? Your reputation can either be career-enhancing or career-limiting. I have seen over and over that people who have confident, drive-for-results, passionate reputations get the interesting projects and support for development. Conversely, I have clients who are brilliant in their field but ask me, “Why have I been in the same position for five years without a promotion when I am accomplishing as much as my peers?” What they don’t realize is that their reputation—for example, being arrogant with colleagues—is blocking them from getting the opportunities they want.

Brand tips

· Your brand is what makes you memorable. Don’t share only your job title at networking events; share your brand and what makes you unique so people will remember you! For example, after giving your title you can say, “I am presently working on a project to implement a new packaging system. It involves lots of collaboration with different vendors, which I really enjoy.”

· Make sure your brand is clearly reflected in your LinkedIn profile. Does your profile include a recent headshot that reflects the image you are trying to convey? Have you filled in the “Summary” section? This is where you can state your brand using the keywords you have chosen to describe it.

· Do you use your strengths in your career and your personal life? If not, how can you incorporate them to energize you and prevent burnout?

· At the end of every week, ask yourself, “What impact did I make this week in my career?” Notice how energized you are when you can make an impact that

reinforces your brand and reputation in either your professional or personal life.

· Pay attention to your reputation. Do you need to make any changes to your present reputation?

It is never too late to take a big step back and clearly define your brand.

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