The Personal Branding Process
By Susan Chritton
Personal Branding redefines many of the concepts used in career development and shows our clients why career development is important at all phases of their careers and not just when they are in transition.
Personal Brand strategies include:
- Uncovering individual uniqueness and identifying what makes you different from your peers and competitors.
- Identifying how others perceive your personal brand and take steps to align those perceptions with the brand you want to communicate.
- Doing your best work coming from your strengths and using those strengths to authentically make a difference in the future.
- Learning to differentiate yourself to be more personally successful for a team and for an organization.
- Determining a target audience so that you can effectively focus how your energy and resources are spent.
- Building a strong on-line brand identity, knowing that we all ARE being googled!
- Improving your skills so as to be a brand worthy of remark.
The methodology I use is the Reach Personal Branding 3-step process developed by William Arruda. His book, Career Distinction, co-authored by Kirsten Dixson, is one I use with my clients in the personal branding process.
Personal Branding 3-Step Process
Extract Phase: Unearth your brand
The Extract Phase is introspective. You identify what it is that truly motivates you and what values you bring into your professional activities. You give your personal brand direction by linking it to your goals. You gather information about your brand from those around you and get ready to use your brand as a roadmap to evaluate opportunities.
Know Yourself - A powerful personal brand is authentic - The beginning of the process begins to unearth your individual uniqueness. Once you have clarity of vision, values, passions, purpose and goals, you will be more likely to demonstrate your authenticity, knowing you are coming from a place of strength rather than adapting your behavior to be like others. Consistent authenticity is a key component in designing a successful brand.
Know Your Competitors - Who are you competing with? - How do you stand out unless you know who you are competing with? Identify who they are, what makes you different and how you can articulate your brand in ways that are compelling and relevant to your audience.
Know Your Target - Are you communicating to the right people? - You need to communicate your brand to the right people - identify those people who need to know about you and your services.
Create a Personal Brand Profile - Once you know your brand attributes you can create a brand statement to guide you in making decisions that are "on-brand" and provide a filter for not participating in activities that are "off-brand." This keeps you energized and focused in meeting your goals.
Express Phase: Build your brand communication plan
Here you determine which communication tools can help you reach your target audience. You identify those tools that will be most effective and most enjoyable for you. You also identify content themes that will focus your communications in key areas of interest to your clients.
Build Your Communications Tools - Once you know yourself, your competitors and your target, you can identify the ideal combination of tools that reach your audience effectively.
Evaluate and Evolve Your Brand - After you have identified your brand and developed the communications tools to reach your target audience, it is important to continually evolve with the times in order to remain relevant to your target audience.
Exude Phase: Managing your Brand Environment
You discover ways to shape your brand environment so that every component of your environment is as on-brand as possible. You also discover how to build and nurture a professional network so as to further extend your brand as well as support your network members' brands.
Align Your Brand Environment with Your Personal Brand - Your brand environment is everything that surrounds you. Once you have developed your personal brand and professional presence and have designed a way to communicate your personal brand, you must identify and develop a plan so that your entire brand environment is "on brand." This includes your office, your business cards, marketing materials, and presentations.
Build and Nurture your Network - Physical and Virtual - A key part of your brand environment is your professional network - the group of people who comprise your business colleagues and alliances. Your network is an important component of your brand that provides a way to further communicate your brand message through individuals who value you and your business. Having a strong personal brand requires being connected to a network of individuals for reciprocal development and growth.
Personal Branding is not a tool that professionals who want to grow within their organizations can afford to ignore. As career development specialists, we can help those we work with to understand how Personal Branding supports and enhances their career growth. We need to remind those we counsel and coach that they all have personal brands whether they recognize it or not. We can help our clients discover their best selves and use their personal brand to celebrate their uniqueness and bring their authentic self to work.
Arruda, W. & Dixson, K. (2007). Career distinction. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Susan Chritton, M.Ed., a National Certified Career Counselor, is a Career Strategist for Pathways-Career & Life Strategies. Susan utilizes Reach Personal Branding strategies, combined with her skill as a Master Career Counselor, a Career Management Fellow and a Coach from the Hudson Institute to bring direction, creativity and renewed enthusiasm to lawyers and professionals.
Susan serves as a Senior Consultant for Torchiana Mastrov & Sapiro, a career management firm, and is a Dream Job Coach for Vocation Vacations. She has managed two career centers for Sun Microsystems. Susan is an Adjunct Professor at the University of San Francisco. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org