How does a person create his or her own personal brand?

           We are all familiar with certain brands and what they represent. Nike represents high quality athletic apparel and paraphernalia. McDonalds represents good, affordable, fast food. Disney represents success in all aspects of entertainment. These corporations have invested millions of dollars into creating and promoting their brand. What does your personal brand say about you? How much have you invested in your personal brand?

            Your personal brand is the perception of your appearance, character, and actions by co-workers, prospective employers, and business connections. Many different factors impact your personal brand.

            Appearance plays a role in your personal brand. How seriously would you take a financial advisor that wears dirty blue jeans and a baseball cap? Likewise, wouldn’t a landscaping contractor look out of place showing up for a job in a three-piece suit? These might be extreme examples, but you get the picture. In a business setting, a general rule of thumb is to always dress and carry yourself a level higher than your current position.

Appearance is not always about clothing or a haircut. Posture is also a part of your appearance. Slouching, walking around with your hands in your pockets, and putting your feet on the desk can all be signs of laziness or arrogance.

            Character is a vital factor in the development of your personal brand. The way you treat co-workers, the way your represent yourself in meetings, and the way you deal with other business connections impacts how you are perceived. Taking charge in a meeting may show leadership. Going overboard may show a tendency to intimidate or an unwillingness to acknowledge other’s ideas.

            Actions are the most important factor in creating your personal brand. Appearance, posture, and character can all be perceived as fake if they are not backed up by actions.

If you talk about conducting yourself in a professional manner, but fail to do so, you are not backing up your words with actions. If you speak loudly and take charge in a meeting, but shrink from the moment your brand can be damaged beyond repair.

            While trying to create your personal brand, it is important to take into account who you are and what you want to be.  Your brand must be created with a goal in mind. If you shape your brand towards a management/leadership role, but your goal is to work in a technical field, you may not get the opportunities you are seeking.

            So remember, the next time you get dressed for work, walk into a meeting, or address a co-worker consider the personal brand you are trying to create, and the perception you are building of yourself.

 

By Tom Svetlick – Business Major IUPUC

             

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