Is It Time To Create Your Personal Brand?
January 24, 2017
There’s a revolution happening in the workforce, but you’d only know about it if you were paying attention. You might see it in the employees around you dressing a little smarter, building their networks at life science conferences, updating their LinkedIn profiles, or enrolling in extra training.
You might be forgiven for thinking they’re considering a new role at a competitor company or are merely infected with new year optimism (and you may well be right), but it’s also very likely that they’re doing a bit of brand-building. Not for the company, but rather, for themselves.
They are in the process of shaping their personal brand to better reflect what they want to be, and how they want to be seen by others at work.
What is a ‘personal brand’?
The start of a new year is the ideal time to launch ‘Operation Personal Brand’. A personal brand is a relatively new term for something that has been around forever. A personal brand, at its heart, is the way that others perceive you. It’s generally the thing you’re most known for—the quality or skill that immediately springs to mind when they think of you. It can be good or bad, and the truth is that you almost certainly already have a personal brand at work—even if you’re not that sure what it is.
Up until now, we’ve tended to think that personal brands are largely accidents; something that ‘just happens’ to people as a by-product of the individual’s personality, their success, or even good luck. In truth, personal brands (the great ones at least) don’t happen by chance. They happen through careful design, backed up with hard work.
Creating a personal brand is the exercise of creating a simple, favourable perception of yourself that others can easily subscribe to. Richard Branson didn’t just become globally known as a philanthropist entrepreneur by accident: an enormous amount of networking and self-promotion went into creating that easily identifiable personal brand. Richard Branson is a great example of a personal brand, as much as each of his businesses is a corporate brand.
2017 is the year to take control of what your personal brand is.
But where to start?
A persuasive personal brand is best achieved when you excel in a niche area, like life sciences. This area is where you want to dominate: you want to be the first person that other employees and executives think of in this regard.
For example, you might want to be known as the most helpful RA manager in your life sciences company. How will you do this? You’ll be the first person to offer help. You’ll learn how to strip your explanations of jargon. You’ll go on training courses. You’ll write easy-to-follow blogs and upload YouTube videos dealing with common issues. In a department full of experts, your personal brand will be that you’re the most helpful expert. This personal branding exercise will significantly build your network and increase your employability.
Where can you shine in your life sciences speciality? You might want to be known as the person who knows the most about changing pharmaceutical regulations in SE Asia. You might want to be regarded as an excellent speaker at life sciences conferences, or a great event organiser for company charity events. You might want to be considered the salesperson with the largest lead network, or a world expert in your current scientific field. You might want to utilise your personal skills to become a brilliant networker- the person who knows everyone that matters.
So, get thinking. What’s your core strength right now? How can you build it to the point where people will immediately think of you when they need someone with a lot of industry contacts to organise a seminar, or someone who can explain the new company software in simple English?
A word of warning here: there’s little point striving to make a name for yourself in a field or role that isn’t genuinely of interest. You’ll need to maintain your personal brand for the indeterminate future, and people can generally tell when someone isn’t being authentic. So pick something you actually care about doing well and can sustain over the long-term.
Some key ways to build your brand include:
a. Speaking at conferences
b. Publishing articles and commenting on forums
c. Updating your LinkedIn profiles and online presence
d. Start your own website
e. Study up on your industry
f. Sharpen up your look
g. Attend networking events
These are all easy steps to accomplish, yet they mark you out as a person who is making positive change and is therefore someone to watch.
And remember, you already have a brand, whether you like it or not. 2017 is the year to take control of that brand and shape it into what you really want to be.