Personal Brand - What is it & why is it important?
Personal brand has become kind of a buzz phrase in the last couple of years, and people in the business world in particular have become more aware of it and the importance that their own personal brand has on them and their careers. But why is everyone talking about it, what is it, what does it mean and why is it relevant? All very good questions! So we wanted to delve into this topic a little to help give some clarity about what your brand is and what it means.
Firstly, do you know what your own personal brand is? If you don’t, or have never even considered that you have a brand, take a moment to think about what yours potentially is or what you want it to be.
When you first hear about people talking about their ‘brand’, some of the first things that come to mind for most are;
- the way you dress
- how you present yourself and
- the way you speak.
These elements are definitely a part of your personal brand, but they aren’t the only aspects you need to think about. Your ‘brand’ is a combination of many things, some you may not even think of as forming part of your brand. Many aspects of your brand are probably not things you are conscious of on a day-to-day basis. Some of them for you to think about are;
- The way you are perceived by others: first impressions are usually lasting. Think about this when you meet people for the first time. Are you friendly, welcoming and approachable?
- Are you a ‘gatekeeper’: many assistants are known as ‘gatekeepers’ and can been seen as being inflexible or difficult.
- Are you flexible and easy to work with: are you easy going and accommodating with others?
- Are you helpful: do you always do your best to help others, even if it isn’t your ‘job’ to help them?
- Are you trustworthy and loyal: do you keep confidential information private and don’t break the trust others place in you?
- How you handle difficult situations: are you a glass half full or glass half empty type of person? How do you perform under pressure?
- Are you a team player: do you work well with others / will you do whatever it takes to reach a common goal?
If you answer some of the above questions for yourself, you’ll start to build a picture of what your personal brand probably looks like. Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong answer, as everyone’s goal and personal brand is different, but it’s good to start being aware of what yours is and what you ideally want it to be, as this is essentially what you’re known for and will assist you greatly in networking and progressing your career.
You also need to consider what your brand is with your executive if you have one. If you work one-on-one with an exec, once you’ve formed a strong partnership with each other you will naturally start to effectively run their office as a manager, and over time your office will start to form it’s own brand and persona - the personification of the partnership of yourself & your exec. The longer you’ve been working together, the more established your brand will be. People will start to think of the office as the entity they need to deal with, rather than an individual, when they need something. They will automatically have an impression of what it’s like to work with you based on what your known brand is within the business. Are you easy to deal with, are you a gatekeeper, are you welcoming, are you flexible, are you accommodating – these are the types of things that will come to mind if you already have an established brand with your exec.
Why is your brand important? Well basically it’s your reputation, it’s a reflection of you personally and professionally and what you’re like to work with. This is important in your current role, and especially if you want to progress your career. Your brand will help you greatly in getting things done, finding out information and being successful in your role, because if people already know what you’re like to work with, they won’t hesitate to help you with what you need, and you will also come to mind when future roles are available. Having people to vouch for you and refer you is invaluable – you can’t buy people’s opinions and respect – those things only come from experience and time.
So do you know what your brand is, and do you know what you want it to be? These are just some thought-provoking starting points for you to consider when building your own brand. Hopefully you find them helpful and now have a better understanding of what your brand means.
Nis & Sarah