Brand New You

by Sokolosky, Valerie Tuesday, July 05, 2011
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It’s not your imagination - the job market is more demanding, more competitive and more challenging. So what makes you different and more valuable than everyone else who does what you do? Where is your additional edge, above and beyond the traditional things on your resume? It’s your authentic personal brand.

You ARE your “brand,” whether you consciously manage it or not. Now more than ever, by not managing it, you are denying yourself and your career the ability to leverage your individuality and uniqueness. Personal branding is for professionals who are seeking ways to emerge with a new differentiator – and a competitive edge…and yet, there’s still significant confusion about what personal branding is – and isn’t.

It’s your fingerprint…your DNA. No one else has it or can imitate it because it’s authentic to YOU. Your brand is the uniqueness only you can offer. As executives in today’s marketplace, hard work is no longer enough to ensure success and longevity.

Here’s an example of someone who used his authentic personal brand to create more success for himself and his firm.

Bill is a partner with one of the Big 4 financial firms and is certainly at the top of his game. But in Bill’s words, “I want to learn ways to differentiate myself from my peers, inside the firm and outside with competitors. It’s clear to me that people buy me first and then the services we offer.”

Together, Bill and I crafted his uniqueness in everything he does -- what decisions he makes, how he lives his life and what value he brings to his clients that make them loyal to him, wherever he might be employed. We even changed his bio to read much more conversationally, which speaks to his personality and demeanor.

The results? His business relationships have taken on a deeper meaning while Bill is much more fulfilled in his role.

Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Become a ninja at knowing what your customer or target audience needs before they know. Stay two steps ahead of the market and one step ahead of every trend. Make change a daily goal. Don’t ever ride the coat tails of the next thing.
2. Take inventory on your current strengths – are they “current” or not! Learning new skills and ways of thinking should be top of mind.
3. Is your image projecting the brand you want to project? Spiff up your style.

So here’s the deal: If you care about managing your career, you’ll develop your brand in a way that people think of YOU first when looking for your area of expertise.