Many smart and hard working people don’t know what a brand is, let alone why you need a personal brand to succeed at work.
And it’s a shame because not knowing you need a personal brand is like not knowing you can buy flight tickets to travel anywhere in the world.
We all know planes enable you to see and do things that were not possible before planes existed.
Yet few are aware branding can have the same life changing effect on your career or business. Once you create a powerful personal brand, you can take your career wherever you want it to go and do things you couldn’t have achieved without a personal brand.
In today’s blog post, I’m going to bust the myths on what a brand is and show you how creating your own brand will help you succeed at work and achieve things you didn’t know were possible in your career.
Let’s start with the basics.
#1 – A brand is not a business.
If I were to ask you to name some brands, you may think of famous companies like Apple, Google, Tesla or L’Oreal and Dior.
A lot of people think of renown businesses when they think of brands. As such there’s a misconception that a brand is a business.
When in fact, brands are not businesses.
When I used to work in consulting, we’d use the word “brands” and “companies” interchangeably. And this is fine because companies have brands.
But brands are not companies.
Rather, brands are simply what people think of and imagine when they hear a name of someone or something. Think of it like a reputation.
Companies love creatings brands to influence how people perceive them. They are used to make a company appear and become valuable.
You can create and use a brand to influence how others perceive you, and make yourself appear and become more valuable in your field of work too.
#2 – A brand is not a name, logo or product.
Another misconception is that a brand is a name, logo or product.
To be fair, when you google “What is a brand?” the first definition that comes up is that “it’s a type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name.”
This oversimplification can mislead you into thinking a brand is a name, product or logo..
When it’s not. A product name and company logo is what makes a brand distinct and recognisable. Like a fingerprint.
For example, when I say Beyonce, we all imagine the same woman.
However, what transformed an ordinary woman from Texas called Beyonce, into the “Queen” Beyonce we all know is what people think of when they hear her name.
It’s the collection of songs she’s released, the music videos she’s created, the albums she’s launched, the messages she’s spread, what she stands for…
… ultimately, her body of work has created your perception of her, and it’s the positive and collective perception of her that makes her valuable and successful in her field.
Your body of work will shape how your colleagues or clients will perceive you and is what will make you valuable and successful in your field.
This brings me on to the next point …
#3 – You already have a brand.
You may not be famous. You may not be a celebrity. You may not be an athlete or even consider running for office.
But you have a brand. A professional brand.
Your parents gave you a name and you were born with a unique and recognisable look. Your colleagues know who you are and you are the person they’ll think of when they hear your name.
The only question is, if I were to ask your colleagues what they think of when they hear your name… what will they say?
Will their description of you reflect how you wish people talk about you when you aren’t in the room?
Does how valuable they think you are reflect how valuable you think you are or aspire to be?
More often than not, the answer is no.
How we see ourselves in our head isn’t how others perceive us from the outside. And that’s what keeps us stuck where we are in our career or business.
Even though in our heads, we dream of breaking through our career plateau and know we are capable of doing more meaningful, exciting and challenging work … we don’t get the opportunities we dream of.
Even though in our head, we believe we’re more valuable, we get paid less than some of our colleagues.
Even though in our head, we believe we are the perfect candidate for a job or consulting project, we don’t get picked.
And this is why you need to create a brand. It helps you transform into the professional, entrepreneur or leader you aspire to be.
Here are 4 ways creating a personal brand helps you do this.
#1 – It’s helps you build an influencial work reputation
There’s a difference between your current brand and your dream personal brand.
Your current brand reflects who you are right now. This is what will keep you doing the same work you’re doing right now.
Your dream personal brand is what you’d love others to say when you’re not in the room. This is what will open doors for you and create your dream career opportunities.
In reality, you can’t control what people think of when they see you. But you can strongly influence how people perceive you at work, online and wherever you are.
You influence people everyday. From how you talk, how you walk, how you present and how you dress… to what service you provide to your team or clients, what results you achieve and how you make others feel … basically any experience someone has when interacting with you strongly influences how they perceive you.
And so the easiest way to get the career opportunities you want is to start behaving in ways that are consistent with how you want to be perceived.
Your homework for this week is to get clear on your values, how you want to deliver service to others and what you want to be appreciated for and remembered by.
This behaviour doesn’t happen by accident. It’s always intentional.
Reason #2 – You’ll attract the jobs and projects you’ve been dreaming of and move your career in the right direction
When you transform your brand into your dream personal brand, you’ll begin to attract the jobs and projects you’ve been dreaming of.
Because when people see jobs or work opportunities, they’ll now think of you and their new perception of you will closely match the career opportunities you want.
Reason #3 – You’ll appear more valuable and get paid more
Last but not least, it goes without saying the more valuable you become (in real terms and not merely perception) the more you’ll get paid.
When you’re an expert in one thing, you’ll be more valuable than someone who does the same thing as you but appears to be less of an expert at it.
When you’re perceived to be a good leader at work, you’re more valuable than someone who doesn’t appear to be a good leader.
Focus on how you can deliver as much value as possible to your team or your clients and that’ll increase your worth.