“You are an entrepreneur…and your product is YOU!”
– Rari Hilditch
When was the last time you took a good hard look at your “product”? In Part 1 of our exploration into personal branding and self-promotion, we talked with Rari Hilditch, Director of Talent and Leadership Development at CIO Executive Council. Rari outlined the importance of personal branding and how a leader must commit to taking the time to dive deep into the process of defining a brand that is true to you and your goals.
Rari made it clear that your personal brand is not just about marketing yourself for your next role, it’s a way to find clarity to make sure you are making the right decisions now. It separates you from others. It helps you define what kind of leader you want to be – and serves as a reminder to make sure you are being correctly perceived by others every day.
The CIO Executive Council helps professionals define their personal and professional brand through our leadership development programs and brand management services. The CEC provides members access to resources and services designed to help better communicate their brand and attract positive recognition both internally and externally.
To help you on your journey of defining a brand that is true to you, I’ve taken a few of the CEC’s recommended resources to get you thinking about what your personal brand means to you.
Consider some of these exercises.
- Think about the value you bring to the table.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What are your natural strengths?
- What do you do extremely well?
- What do people acknowledge you for?
- How do you add value to the marketplace?
- What do you want to be known for?
This short, yet powerful exercise is constantly used by Rari with her clients to open their minds into how they want to be perceived by others. (See our exercise worksheet for an example.) Ask yourself these questions:
- What are 3 words do you want to be known for?
- What do those words mean to you?
- What are some actions you can take every day that tie back to your words?
- Look at some brand superstars.
Consider some strong brands (companies and personal) to see why these brands are effective and what makes them do so well.
- Are there some superstars in your industry you aspire to emulate?
- What do these strong brands have in common?
- Can you take some of their strategies and apply them to your own brand?
- Consider doing a SWOT analysis for yourself to find the gaps.
Outlining your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats will give you some great insight.
- Are there any gaps between your current activities and your desired brand?
- What are some qualities you might need to work on?
- How might these be hurting your brand?
- Do a 360 degree assessment with your team, partners, and/or mentors to get an internal perspective of your current brand as a benchmark.
This can be as simple as outlining some words in a chart and circling the ones you agree with. Once you compile the responses, you’ll have a better idea of how you are currently perceived.
- Start by writing down words you think describe you right now.
- Add in some aspirational ones (the words you outlined in the above exercise are a great start).
- Keeping it anonymous, have your team circle the words they think align.
- Develop a plan.
Now that you have a better idea of your value, how you want to be perceived and some gaps you might have, it’s time to develop a plan.
- Start by taking some of those actions you outlined in the second exercise.
- Show up with your brand in mind.
- Make decisions with your brand in mind.
- Keep consistent.
These actions will become habits and will eventually be second nature. See if people are taking notice. Consider doing another 360 assessment 6 months or a year later. Then, ask yourself: Have things changed?
You’re on your way! To get some guidance around promoting your brand and keeping consistent, be sure check out Part 3 of our series on personal branding and self-promotion coming soon.
View Part 3