Defining yourself as a brand entails 4 basic components:

  1. Core values of who you are
  2. Vision of who you are
  3. Personal value system, value statement
  4. Expectancy of who you are

Your brand at basic minimum is who you are and what you do that leaves a lasting impression on those receiving your brand. Power and personality are linked to your base foundation of values (faith, family, community). In defining who you are, focus like you are writing a business plan.  After all, it really is a “business plan” of the You Corporation.  This plan should outline what you need, how to get there, what resources are available to you, and how you get to the end result.

Here are 10 steps to help discover, create and refine your plan.

  1. Think like a free agent. Don’t think in terms of just you as your job role.  Think your all encompassing life.  Include your life outside of your job.  All aspects of your life should compliment one another.
  2. Discover what sets you apart and market it shamelessly.  Everyone has that special thing that makes them the go to person or the stand out in the crowd.  Figure out what that is and own it.
  3. Get visible.  Be in places, be a part of something. You have to be present to make it.  Nobody gets ahead by being that lone renegade in the office who has no time to be bothered with colleagues.  Take part in volunteer opportunities that your company ties into.  Going to one after hours event with your co-workers won’t kill you.  Just conduct yourself appropriately.
  4. STOP NETWORKING!  Yes, I said it.  There is a huge difference between networking and building relationships. Start taking action and build those relationships.  The initial networking opportunity or introduction is just that, introductory.  It’s up to you to cultivate those relationships to make them beneficial for both parties.  Collecting cards and names on a social network is not networking (see the video I posted a few months back from IBM.
  5. Add value.  It’s not good enough to just do enough.  Go above and beyond.  Deliver excellence to all you do.  The professional value you bring to your tasks on a daily basis will get noticed by those who matter.
  6. Excelerate your brand power by being involved with an issue that is long standing.  This has nothing to do with work or company sponsored volunteering.  Serve on a board or committee for a non profit.  Dedicate time to a cause near and dear to your heart.
  7. Collaboratively work ethical causes to integrate with your profession. Your volunteer portfolio is just as important as your professional portfolio. Introduce your cause to your company. Ask if they’ll consider supporting that cause.
  8. Share before you look for profit.  What are you giving back? It should not be solely about the money.  Don’t attach a monetary value to all things or time. Instead, accept it as an added bonus of the opportunity presents itself, and still share part or all of it with your cause.
  9. How you empower, support or encourage others matters. Keep the pipeline going and growing.  Do for others without being asked.  Keeping a pay it forward mentality always produces positive results for yourself and others. No action should be deemed too small or insignificant. Everything you do affects at least one other person.
  10. Constantly question yourself as a life long learner.  If you get to a point where you believe you know it all, you really don’t.  Everyone, not matter how far along in their career, knows absolutely everything. Make it a mission to always learn and grown.

So go ahead, make your mark and chang the world.  We’ve always discussed the professional aspects of your brand.  But your authentic brand is all encompassing and includes your total person.  Be authentically you!

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham