How to Plan Personal Branding in a Corporate World

It occurred to me this week that I've got a professional brand. It's not necessarily related to jules.ca, but this endeavor has also likely assisted in giving my professional, and personal brand *lift*.

I'm taking about corporate capital. Career equity. Company stock... personal stock. It's the "umph" that helps you to be recognized as a leader in your field. It's the bit of professional "floobergeist" that develops after you've proven your net worth. It's your own internal professional branding.

If you are looking to get above the radar, or in some cases, onto the radar, in corporate Canada, there are a few key tactics that make quite a bit of sense, and are well worth the effort.

You're hired, you report to work, you join a team -- and you immediately start figuring out how to deliver value to the customer. Along the way, you learn stuff, develop your skills, hone your abilities, move from project to project. And if you're really smart, you figure out how to distinguish yourself from all the other very smart people walking around with $1,500 suits, high-powered laptops, and well-polished resumes. Along the way, if you're really smart, you figure out what it takes to create a distinctive role for yourself -- you create a message and a strategy to promote the brand called You.
 - Fast Company --- The Brand Called You


And therein lies the crux, how to go about creating a message and a role for yourself in a corporate organization where employees can number in the thousands.

  1. Be Brave - it sucks being the new kid. But it's also one of the best reasons to reach out and meet people, or re-connect with old people. You can call people right out of the blue, and let them know you are *here*.
  2. Be Genuine - nothing else on this list will matter one iota if you aren't genuinely interested in what you're working on, or the people you are working with. I have a habit of starting every conference call with "hallooooo!" It makes me smile, and it makes the folks who are on the other end of the phone smile as well.
  3. Don't be afraid to screw up - but have a Plan B if you do. Plan B can rescue you from almost everything.
  4. ALWAYS recognize folks who have helped you - even if indirectly.
  5. Have a sense of humour - if you can't laugh in your job, at yourself or even with a team on a project, you'll get remembered alright.  As the grumpy person who never laughed.
  6. Go outside of your organization and even your industry to build relationships, ask for help or offer help - so many times I share assistance, what you sow is what you reap. No fooling. Once I asked the internets for Help with VoIP. And Ted Wallingford answered. I'm not even kidding. He even gave me his phone number.
  7. Have a digital persona - this worked for me but I know some people are simply uncomfortable with havng their live on-line. Folks I don't get to see in real life can keep up with my life digitally. I use LinkedIn AND Facebook for both corporate peers and business colleagues. One of the first things people say to me when I meet them the first time in real life is "wow - I love your LinkedIn Profile, what's an internet evangelist"?
  8. Volunteer - with charity work, with special projects, with helping someone track down something tricky. Really, this comes down to lending a helping hand. And it doesn't hurt a bit.
  9. Stay in touch - You switch roles, switch jobs, switch companies. Don't forget about the folks you *used* to have coffee with every morning.
  10. Be honest - own up to anything that's your responsibility. The good as well as the bad. Be truthful and have integrity. This will only increase your personal net worth.

Creating a personal brand isn't all that complicated. It comes down to applying effort and general, good playground manners.  :-)

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