Lately, there has been a raging battle, where people have lashed out at personal branding. First, we heard from Geoff Livingston (a friend), who says “I don’t care about your personal brand.” There were a lot of comments on that blog for and against personal branding. Then, Mitch Joel, a personal branding advocate chimed in, telling people that they need to care more about their personal brand. Finally, Pete Kistler, an up-and-coming personal branding evangelist, summarized the arguments in a nice post.
I’ve already gone over the top 5 personal branding myths and feel that some people just have a lack of understanding on this topic, and are afraid of it, so they go against it. Personal branding is NOT all about you. Personal branding is for everyone and you simply don’t have a choice, whether to brand yourself or not, because you’ve already been branded since birth.
You know where I stand (it’s pretty obvious), so I’d rather give you a post that positions personal branding as beneficial to corporate America, so you understand that this process isn’t just for consultants. Sure, you can brand yourself to get a job, but a lot of people have difficulty succeeding in the workplace. Just because you get the job, you certainly aren’t off the hook! The following are five proven ways for you to successfully brand yourself within a company.
1) Become the go-to personal for a specific skill or expertise
If you’re a millennial, this tip should be easy to implement, especially if you work in a workplace, where there aren’t many other millennials. People our age grew up in an ocean of technology, fabricated with text messaging, instant messaging, VOIP and much more. We also are very computer savvy, so when someone needs help with Excel, PowerPoint or blogging, we should jump in the air and say “I can help you.” You want to become known for something (brand yourself), so that when people need help in a specific area, your name pops into their head.
2) Dress the part
What you wear in an interview might be different than working at the company. Depending on your style, the companies culture and the day-of-the-week, you may dress differently. Also, a factor is the nature of your job. For instance, engineers typically wear t-shirts and jeans (I lived with one last year). Startup companies are usually more flexible, especially web 2.0 ones (the Facebook founder wears sandals). If you do sales for a Fortune 500 company, you are probably going to wear a suit. Be conscious of how people dress in your role and dress the part.
If you find yourself taking all the credit for your projects and isolating your team members, you are clearly doing something wrong. The best brands in the workplace thrive on helping the team succeed. You will benefit by being a good team-player by forging stronger relationships with colleagues and by the results you will obtain through your overall effort. People will want to work with you on your next big project if you treat them right and you follow-through on commitments.
4) Blog on behalf of your company
There are a lot of people who blog about their position or on their expertise, as it relates to their company. I rarely do this because this blog was built to be the HQ of personal branding worldwide (#1 resource for you), and not a corporate blog. I do, however, blog about interesting things going on at work as they relate to personal branding, such as how we’ve used social media to build EMC’s brand and how our employer brand is very attractive. Richard Binhammer (DELL), Jeremiah Owyang (Forrester and winner of the Gold Personal Brand Award of 2008), Bill Marriott (Marriott), and Richard Edelman (Edelman) are great examples of corporate spokespeople who are blogging for their company. Blogging for your company can help get the word out and, from the corporate perspective, it’s not costing them a dime! You will also establish fame and reputation inside your company and it could boost your career.
5) Make your manager look like a rockstar
In general, one of the reasons I’ve been successful is because I’ve helped make other people successful first. This is the ultimate way to make a name for yourself. I’ll be talking about this for years to come. When it comes to branding yourself within a company, the first person you need to make successful is your manager. Good managers will give you credit on your work and talk you up to their manager (typically a director). By doing quality work, your manager has heavily artillery when venturing into the executive jungle. If he gets a bonus, raise, promotion or some other special recognition, you better believe it will work in your favor.