Note: The first time I heard Claire Stoddard introduce her- self at a networking meeting, I knew we had to collaborate. Read this and you will see why. Thanks to Claire for her guest blog.
“Understanding and maintaining a personal brand is a huge part of living a happy and fulfilling life,” says Claire Stoddard, President of Branding Universe. “Aligning that brand with your company’s brand ensures a successful business career.”
Personal branding became a phenomenon in the early part of this century. It started with students and young professionals, but soon expanded into older generations and senior executives. Now personal branding is part of the fabric of our personal and professional lives.
What is a Personal Brand?
Your brand is YOU.
- It is your vision for yourself
- Your core values
- It is exemplified by the words you speak, the messages you project, and the way you live your life
As you grow and mature, so will your brand. Which is why it is very important to monitor your brand’s reputation, update your image, and make sure that your messaging is in alignment with the reputation you want to build for yourself.
Managing Your Personal Brand
Remember your brand is manageable – and searchable. Even while you’re asleep, your key customers and prospects can be searching for anything they can find about you – your professional background, customer complaints, even your personal history.
Have you heard stories of people being Googled before a first date? The same thing happens before a first sales call. One of the best ways to make sure that positive information emerges when your name is Googled is to manage the content posted on social networks like LinkedIn, which has the lion’s share of business users.
- Post articles that exemplify your skills and expertise
- Keep in touch with your first-level connections
- Participate in and monitor discussion boards for your industry
- Monitor blog comments
- Google yourself periodically to see if the results best represent your brand
- Set a Google alert for your name
Aligning Your Personal Brand with Your Company’s Brand
A significant strategy for building a fulfilling and successful career is to align your personal brand – those core beliefs and values that you want to nurture and grow – with your company’s brand.
Before accepting a new job, check the prospective employer’s vision and mission as well as the corporate culture. Do this by looking at their website, annual report, and seeing who you could know at the company through your LinkedIn connections to find an insider’s view of the company’s brand.
Once hired, monitor your career pathway both in terms of your own brand and the company brand, which now should be in alignment. Talk to your employer about your ambitions. Ask for assignments that will add skills that will help you grow and develop in your desired direction.
This will serve both your personal brand and your employer’s corporate brand well.
Claire Stoddard, President
Better Branding. More Business.