Henri Eliot: Should executives consider personal brand management?

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Relying on a firm for stability and identity is an increasingly archaic concept. Photo / Thinkstock
Relying on a firm for stability and identity is an increasingly archaic concept. Photo / Thinkstock

Looking through the eyes of the public or key stakeholders, it's imperative that you view yourself as a company. As the economy here in New Zealand grows, companies will continue to rise and fall like the ocean's tides. Relying on a firm for stability and identity is an increasingly archaic concept.

Within the contemporary employment landscape, you are your own company. People now have to learn to manage their careers as if it is an extension of them.

As we move into 21st century the old ways of working are no longer relevant. I'm sure you've heard most people will have an excess of 10 careers. People can no longer expect to remain with a single company for the duration of their working years.

A strong personal brand will:

• Provide a road map to live your life from.

• Give you greater visibility and credibility in the market.

• Make you stand out from your competitors.

• Give you the confidence to clearly communicate what makes you unique.

• Give you clarity to understand your "market value".

• Help you identify your competitors and target audience.

• Maximise your available personal opportunities.

What does your personal brand say about you?

The strength of your professional success is determined by how other people perceive you.

We all have a personal brand and by developing and managing your brand, it will give you the ability to understand and communicate to others your unique value. This is your best weapon in standing out, landing that job, creating a successful business or attracting that client.

Personal branding is a unique approach to managing your career, business or profile - it helps you understand who you are and what you have to offer in the marketplace. In this competitive business environment it is not enough anymore to just have the right skills, knowledge and experience. You need to offer something more to guarantee success and results. Understanding your personal brand is the key to maximising your potential.

Julien Leys, MD of PR Partners sums it up succinctly that "Critical to any brand (either personal or a company) is knowing who you are and what you stand for - everything you say about yourself or business should reflect this and communicating it whether as a point of difference, leadership or inspiring teams within an organisation, is fundamental. A personal brand is made up of a number of parts including character, values, track record, reputation and performance. What transforms a personal brand into a success as a marketable and recognised property is how well you have managed to communicate that as a story over time.


Finally, there are a few key steps to help you develop and control your personal brand:

• Check the major search engines (Google or Bing) to find your name and what's published about you online.

• Clean up your Web presence. Hire a professional firm here if required.

• Buy your own domain name (even if you are not using it yet).

• Set up an ongoing monitoring alert system through google alerts or similar tool.

• Get to know yourself, and share helpful content on a regular basis. LinkedIn or your own blog are useful options to consider.

Just as a company's brand changes over time, your personal brand is constantly evolving. As you gain work and life experiences, your brand changes to reflect who you are at work and in life. Build a 360 degree feedback loop with friends, work colleagues and other people whose judgement you trust, so they can help you polish and further refine your personal brand.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, once said that "your brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room." Do you know what people are saying about your personal brand online and off? Are you taking steps to build, polish, and refine it?

The key is to remember that your personal brand is more than just your executive role; it's your career and the brand is called you.

Henri Eliot is CEO of Board Dynamics

- NZ Herald

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