Personal branding is a journey. There are three main steps: Self Discovery, Communication Plan, and finally Alignment. This is the second part in a series that will dive deeper into personal branding; this part specifically about your Communication Plan. Use these articles along with the Personal Branding Self Assessment.
Once you have completed the first step in Personal Branding which is Self Discovery, then you can move onto your Communication Plan.
First let’s look at some fundamental truths
- We all leave an impression with others in everything we do and don’t do.
- You will strengthen or tear down your personal brand with every interaction.
- Everyone you interact with is important.
Let’s look at some examples to illustrate the point.
- When you decide to roll that shopping cart back to the store because their aren’t any cart returns. What does that say about you to others that see you? What about if you just stashed it between two cars next to you? What does that say about you?
- At work someone is rude and intimidating to your co-worker; do you let it stand or do you say something. How does each action communicate who you are and your personal brand (how you want others to see you)?
- Maybe you mention you work directly for the VP every time you meet another person in your company. What positive and negative perceptions are you likely to leave with that person?
- As you exit a job interview that went very well, you see someone that appears to be the janitor struggling to get a mop bucket full of water through the lobby door. You decide to just sweep on by through the other door without helping and your door slams into the bucket dumping water all over the guy. Now what happens when that person states “What a jerk!” about you as the person who just interviewed you steps into the lobby. What does this say about you to the potential new employer?
Make a list of 10 things you can do (take action) that would communicate your personal brand. What 10 things do you need to avoid or stop doing that are tearing down your personal brand?
Take some time to assess your network. This is the group or the people that you need to communicate your brand.
Take a moment to consider the following:
- Who do you know already that is influential in your industry or company?
- Who else is influential in your company or industry that you need to build a relationship with?
- Who do you know that can introduce you to those people?
- How else can you reach those individuals?
- How are you connecting with these people today?
The book The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann talks about how to gain influence with others. In the book, the authors state the Law of Influence is “Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first”. The idea is that if you network to see what you can gain from someone – people will be turned off, because you are focused on yourself. Instead focus on how you can help them and then you will gain influence that will be returned to you in kind.
Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first (Burg, 2007)
Just how can we apply this concept to personal branding? Let’s take one person that you have identified that you need to communicate your personal brand that is not in your network today. Spend your first meeting learning about them, their desires, their needs, and what they need. Work on what you can do to help them. It may not come right away, however if you focus on how you can help them ideas will appear to you.
You want an abundance of strong relationships where you have helped others be successful in your network. These people will in turn help you and support you in your desires; it’s just a natural process for most people.
Now that you know how to communicate your brand and who you needs to get the communication, you can formulate a plan to purposefully communicate what you want to the right people.
Here are some ideas on how to communicate your brand for effectively:
- Increase the interactions: talk to more people
- Be the expert: give speeches, write articles, write blog posts, write a book, be a panelist, join associations
- Dress the part: packaging is definitely part of your brand.
- Volunteer for additional projects/work/positions/responsibility
- Be how you want others to see you in every interaction
- Identify behaviors you have that violate your personal brand and work diligently to build new habits that align with your brand
Start with the top 3 things you need to do – it may be people you need to create relationships with; it may be changing your behaviors with certain people in your network today; or it may be showing some appreciation to some people you have previously.
What is a reasonable timeline to get each thing completed? What obstacles can you identify that would prevent you from getting this done in the timeline you identified? What can you do proactively to give yourself the best chance of getting this completed? What resources do you have that can help you in this area?
Thank you for continuing to read the Personal Branding Journey Series. Look forward to the last installation of this series about alignment of your brand in all channels. In the meantime – if you have questions – feel free to reach out to me!
-Stephanie Simmons; Career Coach