Personal Branding For Dummies
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When you know your personal brand, you can figure out how to use it within the corporate culture where you work. It becomes an authentic exchange of assets.

Developing a personal brand is more than insurance in a volatile workforce; it establishes a clarity of career goals that allows you to chart your career course by taking assignments to help you grow and develop. In most cases, that action serves your company well.

Most companies have a corporate brand or a set of company guidelines that all employees agree to buy into. Often, the company brand is part of its allure to workers.

For example, workers at Google buy into the idea that Google is a company on the cutting edge of innovation and has a reputation for being a cool place to work. Someone chooses to work at Google because he believes he’s the kind of person who fits that corporate brand.

Intertwine your brand with your company

As you build your personal brand, you can identify areas of growth that overlap with your employer’s goals. One place to begin is to look at the company’s annual report where the mission, vision, and values are stated. Ask yourself if you can see how the personal brand you’re developing overlaps with your company’s mission, vision, and values.

A wise employer will encourage you to align your values with company values and find this “sweet spot” of personal buy-in. You’ll have greater satisfaction with your work and fill your employer’s need for increasing job performance and greater productivity.

Personal branding can appear to be a self-centered approach to work, but in fact, it’s an avenue of self-empowerment. Having choices gives you a feeling of control over your destiny by taking away a feeling of being a victim (feeling like you have no choices) in your work.

When you develop a strong personal brand, you demonstrate a pro-activity that can help you grow over the course of your career. Your dedication to self-improvement ultimately serves the people you work with as well.

William Arruda, Reach Communications founder, gives this description of personal branding in the workplace:

When I started my personal branding business over a decade ago, companies were skeptical about personal branding. Today, companies understand that corporate brands and personal brands work well together. Your company needs you to deliver on its brand promise in a way that is authentic to you. You must leverage what makes you exceptional in support of your company’s mission. If you conform to a set of standards without integrating your greatest strengths and passions, your company does not benefit from the unique ingredient you can contribute.

Be authentic in what you do

At the core of personal branding is this question: How do I get to be authentic in what I do? Most people don’t feel they can be themselves at work. Here are some key questions to ask to determine whether your personal brand aligns with your work:

  • What does the company stand for? What are its mission, vision, and values?

  • What is your personal brand? What are your mission, vision, and values?

  • How do the two compare? Are there places where they match? Where are they in conflict?

  • Do you feel proud to work for this company? Can you identify with the work that your company does?

  • Are you motivated to go to work? What do you most enjoy doing?

  • Do you feel like this company can use your unique contributions? Are you able to engage your unique promise of value?

  • Do you have an opportunity to add value that is remarkable, measurable, and different?

  • Are you doing the right job for who you are and what your skill set is?

  • What have you accomplished in this work that you can brag about?

  • Do you see yourself and your personal brand being able to grow in this company? Can you build your brand here?

  • Do the company’s ethics align with your sense of right and wrong?

Find the ideal situation

The ideal situation is when your values align with what your company values. When that happens, you’re likely to feel engaged and committed to the work you do. This is something different than company loyalty; the goal here is a day-to-day good fit and a genuine interest in the work.

When your personal brand and the company brand align, here’s what you get:

  • Higher motivation resulting in greater self-direction

  • A happier employee (you!) who is connected not only to the task of her work but also to the company and fellow teammates

  • Less stress because there is a better fit

  • An increasing willingness to take on more work

  • More passion and creativity, and less burnout

  • Excitement and a renewed enthusiasm

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