With the rise of 'hyper personal brands' such as Donald Trump and Kim Kardashian, it's important to understand that we are also individual "brands" that need to be successfully managed and protected in our own sphere of influence.
Although many Kiwis find this concept of personal branding an uncomfortable prospect, it becomes more and more vital, the further up the corporate ladder you climb.
The old saying "the early bird catches the worm" reminds us to get in to the office early, work hard, and maximise our time efficiently.
By doing this you will be noticed by those around you and be rewarded for your efforts.
Sadly however, this is not always the case in today's business environment. Compare a dull brown sparrow with a bright multi-coloured budgie. The budgie stands out by just having bright plumage.
Therefore, think about the things that make you stand out, then get out there and make sure your boss and clients know about your unique selling points and achievements.
Making it work for you
It's obvious that the benefits of a strong personal brand are many.
Create new business opportunities
Having a strong personal brand develops a high level of client and industry trust, leading to new business and networking opportunities.
Improve sales conversion rates and increase profit
People want to deal only with you, as you are seen to be a key leader in your field. This allows you the opportunity to improve conversion rates and increase profit margins.
Talented people are drawn to you, and want to be led and mentored by an industry leader.
With a strong brand, you can start to speak on behalf of your industry, ultimately driving positive industry change at a national and political level.
And personally: New opportunities open up within your own organisation, as you are seen to be an 'influencer in your industry'.
Recruiters and industry leaders seek you out as your influence and networks grow.
This leads to exciting new opportunities that you may not have thought possible earlier in your career.
The first thing to do in the development of your personal brand is to find out what others are saying about you right now. If you have never done this before, Google yourself and see what appears.
In my next column in my Personal Branding series, I will be exploring how to start developing your personal brand "voice" in your sphere of influence.
Tom is 'The Brandologist' - an award-winning business speaker and best-selling international author. Visit www.TomONeil.com