Every day at work, you run the risk of damaging your individual – even if you don’t think you have one. How is this possible? Well, your brand is the way people perceive, think, and feel about you in relation to others. The people you work with already have perceptions, thoughts, and feelings about you, so just by virtue of being “you” in the workplace, you already have a personal brand.
The question is whether you have the brand you want. Is your brand bringing you greater success, or is it actually holding you back? Not knowing the answer to that question can mean the difference between a career that stays land-locked and a career that skyrockets.
So, what are the best ways to keep this kind of brand damage under control?
1. Get clear about what your current brand stands for right now. This means discovering how people perceive, think, and feel about you in the present moment. Enlist a friend you trust to ask several work colleagues for the top five words they would use to describe you. Are you described the way you want to be? If not, your individual brand needs some adjustments.
2. Determine where you need to make changes. If you aren’t happy with the results of your research, that’s good news. Why? Because it will clarify exactly what you need to change in order to create the brand you want.
3. Define carefully what you want your brand to be. Once you have an idea of where your current image is failing, you need to define your desired image. Most people struggle with their personal brand because they haven’t taken the time to clearly define it. Not having a clear definition of your unique brand is like meandering from point A to point B without a map. You might get there eventually, but you’ll make a lot of wrong turns along the way.
So, take some time to consider: How do you want to be known? What are your strengths, and how can you best fill the needs of your brand’s “target audience” – i.e., your boss, your colleagues, and/or your customers?