Monday, August 2, 2010

How To Start Building Your Personal Brand( attempt to understand the art of reputation)

Managing your personal brand can make you a hot commodity.

People are judging machines. The way our brains are wired, we are constantly making assessments about people, places and things. We can’t help it. Often we do it within the first 10 seconds of seeing a person.

Companies utilize this tendency to help sell goods. They create a brand that has a certain myth behind it. A story behind it. A reputation.

Often because of that reputation, because of that myth, we are judge a product good or bad, and are motivated to buy it or not.

Consider a book. The last book you bought it. Why did you buy it? Did a friend recommend it to you? (Reputation). Did the television? Did the ideas presented on the back of the book? Did it just look cool?

These areas all part of the brand, or the perceived value that a thing has.

Think Apple. It is perceived as being great, a powerful creator of super cool devices that help us to be creative. So many other famous brands have powerful expectations behind them. They have a certain value to us. We know that BMW means Great car. Harley Davidson means tough guy motorbike, and Luis Vuitton means stylish bag.

Well, the same goes with people. We often make expectations about people. Think about Madonna, or Chang Dong-gun, or Kim Yeon Ah. When we hear those names, there is a certain image that comes to mind. A certain power. We know that if we went and saw Kim Yeon Ah, that we would see a magnificent skating example. Chang Dong-gun, a pretty good movie. Madonna, a great musical concert. Those expectations are what I call a part of their personal brands. These names have a certain enterainment value. The degree of value we believe they represent determines the amount of money we pay to see them, etc.

Well in the world of work, employees have value to a company. Companies, in fact, choose employees much like a person chooses a book or a car. They choose based on the value that they believe the person is worth.

We as individuals invest our money in buying an iPhone. A company invests its money in buying a persons services, skills, abilities.

We want companies to invest a lot of money into us. We want to get paid for doing what we like.

Well, if we learn to manage our own brand, to create for ourselves an aura of value, we might just get what we want.

Managing your own personal brand is like marketing yourself. Positioning yourself. Designing a reputation for yourself. It’s the art of becoming known as a as a valuable HOT commodity.

The truth is, the better we manage our brand, the better we create a brand that is valued by others, the better our chances for getting a good job, a promotion, of becoming famous, etc. We want to be like an Apple Iphone or a Samsung Galaxy….highly sought after. We do not want to be Joe Generic. We don’t want to be blah people. Ordinary.

So how do we manage our brand?

It’s not easy. I wish it were easy. But if it were easy, everyone would do it. If everyone did it, then no one would get the benefits. Creating a name for yourself, a reputation for yourself takes serious thought and effort.

But, according to some of the hottest career coaches in the world, including your very own Michael Jay HA!, working on creating your personal brand will well be worth your every effort.

So, over the next few weeks, I will discuss this in detail.

Frankly, the topic is too big to cover in one session. But, the basics are this:

Managing your brand begins by checking our own beliefs about work and the future of work.

You have to believe that your career is your responsibility. Your happiness is your responsibility.

You have to be willing to take career matters into your own hands.

Once you’ve become willing to do that, you have to start looking at yourself as you are right now. You need to make assessments of your current workstyle. You really should begin to do some research. Ask yourself, your friends, your co-workers how they view you? Ask them to tell you three adjectives to describe you. (Try to ask people who you trust to give you the truth.)

Get Honest with yourself. What do you really want for yourself? For your life? Your career? Be brave, and own your own choice. What is it YOU really want to do. Not what your mom or dad or grandfather wants, but what do YOU YOU YOU really want to do?

Building a personal brand is more about attitude than anything. Are you dishonest? Do you need to work on your work effort? Do you need to try harder in your area of responsibility?

Building yourself into something that others value requires you to truly learn to value yourself. How’s your self-esteem? If it needs some work, get it done! There are books out there. Counsellors out there.

Start asking yourself how you want people to talk about you in the future. Think ahead 5 years. What do you want people to say about you then? Visualize this.

Do you want to be known for certain technical skills? I have a friend who is working hard to train herself in design. She wants to be known as a designer. I have another friend who wants to be a great public speaker. She wants to be known as a great public speaker.

Do you want to be known for your personal skills?? Your ability to lead? Your ability to listen? Maybe you don’t know what you want to do in the future. That’s okay. You can still work on developing your brand as a great listener, a wonderful empathizer, a creative thinker.

This last step is the hardest….you know what it is…..begin. Begin. Whether you are 50 or 15…begin. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not when your vacation starts, not next January…begin today.

Start learning all you can. Start reading about how to improve your listening skills, or reading all you can to improve your technical skills. You guys know this. But, knowing smoething and doing something are often VERY different. We create the reputation that preceeds us. It is a daily fight. And, it’s worth every bit of effort.

Next week I’ll be talking more about this. I’ll be discussing more about how you can design yourself as a brand, and about how you can communicate your brand. Until then….have a great week. Talk soon.

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