When you have a strong personal brand — whether or not it’s one you’ve controlled the creation of — it gives your colleagues a shorthand way to describe you. It’s a first impression plus a little more, and if you manage it well, it’s a support system for your conversations with leaders. Something more than a reputation. Rather than “Luke in marketing that surfs and is good at numbers” or “Lily the customer service manager who paints and has a cute dog”, you could be introduced as an intrinsically trusted, skilled and competent person. And this travels upward, as well. A strong personal brand gives room for word to travel to your senior managers.
How do you build a personal brand?
Find your why
Building a personal brand is a deliberate process, and requires reflection, perseverance, and dedication. The first step to building a personal brand is understanding what drives you. What gets you up in the morning. Questions to ask yourself include:
- What are you the proudest of that you’ve done?
- What things do you want to learn?
- What projects keep you interested and engaged?
- What projects do you usually put off?
- What are your hobbies — what projects do you enjoy in your own time?
At the end of this you should have your “why.” And that why will be the foundation for your personal brand and a launchpad for your career, including promotions, if that’s a part of your ambition and where you’ve mapped out your career path.
Map your why
If you’re within an organisation and looking to grow your personal brand, an important step to take is to map your personal brand to the mission and vision of the company you’re working for.
Sometimes it’s straightforward — you’re a compassionate problem-solver who is working in adaptive technology for those with limb differences, for example. Sometimes less so — maybe you enjoy finding creative solutions in a highly regulated industry. Regardless, it’s important to map out where what drives you and what your company’s vision is cross.
Part of this mapping, as well, is being clear on where your product or topic expertise lies, whether that’s information management, records management, digital transformation etc… You should aim to clearly understand your own strengths and weaknesses, which can sometimes be a bit confronting if it’s not something you’ve done before.
When you map your why to the company’s why, look to internal leaders you admire or think align with your personal brand. These leaders will help you understand what behaviours you should model and what may or may not work for you within the existing company structure and strategy.
Write your story
Once you know your why and how it lines up with the company you’re working for, build your elevator pitch, your story of you in a soundbite, and slowly build on it along that same thread. Think of some of the strongest personalities in popular culture you know — often these are people that go beyond embracing their quirks and nuances, they make them their unique identifier, their strongest selling point.
They continue to share their story from their perspective and create an empire around it. One of the most valuable things we can be when we’re looking to build a personal brand is genuine.
Leaders are people too
Your internal stakeholders are people too. With ups and downs, pet peeves and hobbies. Weekends and weeknights, lives outside of work. When building your personal brand, sit down, list out the names of your important leaders and do some work to really understand who they are.
Part of this, yes, will include those awkward first meetings. The potentially stilted small talk. With your internal stakeholders, though, remember while you may be initiating these conversations, it’s really all about them. You’re looking to understand how you can help them. Part of that is in preparing for these first meetings well, by having a clear entry point — a shared hobby, career path or future project — and a clear ask. That ask may be as simple as: what can I do to help you?
Now that you know who your stakeholders are, and you’ve opened up those conversations, keep them going. Check in with your leaders, whether you’re a records manager or an information manager, and try to give more than you take. Emotional connections built on trust and respect create stronger impressions than those built entirely on transactional, logical conversations.
That doesn’t mean you should pay less attention to the logical side of your personal brand, though. One of the hallmarks of a strong personal brand, regardless of the overarching position, is that feeling of it’s like they read my mind. Those moments where you share a business case, or another piece of work, that anticipates and answers their questions while giving them everything they need to make a decision. And that kind of mind-reading sometimes requires some outside help from your vendors.
While all this may sound a bit over the top, when you’re clear on what your personal goals are, how they line up with your company and you have a genuine desire to help your teammates and those you work with, building your visibility will start to become second nature. You’re all in to help folks solve their problems and doing it with your own unique perspective.
If you want to grow your information management knowledge and to help you build your personal brand, don’t hesitate to contact our team at Compu-Stor. We’re an Australian owned family business specialising in information and records management solutions and services. From document, media and data storage to digital scanning, business process automation and consulting services, we provide a wide range of solutions using the latest technologies to deliver secure and efficient services.
Through our Digital Transformation Solutions, we help enhance the accessibility and flow of information within organisations. With offices across Australia, we work with our clients to provide tailored, cost-effective and secure solutions.
Our expert consultants in Information Management are ready to support you & your business in defining the best strategy to drive your information management. Contact us today for a free initial exchange to see how we can help you: 1300 559 778 For more information, visit our website at https://www.compu-stor.com.au/