Personal Branding for the Middle Years - dummies

Personal Branding for the Middle Years

By Susan Chritton

Personal branding done well requires an implemented strategy to guide your success. It keeps your career fresh and exciting at a time when many others, during the middle years of their career, are happily hanging out in routine. Setting a strategy to continue to grow in your career and continually evolve your personal brand takes courage and vision.

To begin, evaluate your current position and set both short- and long-term goals. You may have an idea that you’d like to create in your current workplace, or you may find that you need to look beyond your current workplace.

Your personal brand is developed from your authentic self. Don’t be afraid to let your differences begin to show as long as those differences are appropriate for the arena you’re working in.

Creating a buzz around your brand can take place with a variety of strategies. Take a look at some of these strategies you can use to give presence to your personal brand and think about which ones may work for you at this point in your career:

  • Be the go-to expert. Find a niche of expertise and then learn all you can about that subject. Build a communications plan around that expertise. Become known for what you know about something that few others know.

  • Lead a project. Look at your situation and see where you can take on a leadership role that would make you and your personal brand more visible. Perhaps it’s time for you to step up and lead your professional association or a service project others have avoided committing to. Leadership gives you visibility and a chance to inspire others.

  • Build your brand on one of your unique characteristics. Communicate that characteristic in all that you do. Some people introduce themselves with a tagline touting that characteristic, and pretty soon, it becomes what they’re known for. An example would be, “I’m David, and I make the best banana muffins in the Northwest.”

  • Develop the best clients. Understand who your target market is and actively go after key clients. You can build your brand based on the clients you serve. The more specialized the client, the more in demand you’ll be. The more in demand you are, the more your fees can reflect your specialization. Be known through your clients.

  • Risk being the first one with a new idea. If you’re creative but always wait to be assigned a project, take the risk and present your new idea or project. If you’re in business for yourself, think about what you can do that would be the first in your industry. Being first is a brand builder.

  • Build your brand on your pedigree. For example, people become known as the “Russian lawyer” or the “UC Davis dentist” because they attract people with similar pedigrees to their businesses. You can create a stronger brand by aligning yourself with something in your background that others are attracted to as well.

During the middle phase of your career, it’s important to re-examine your brand on occasion and look at what you need to do to spice it up a bit. Don’t let your brand get stagnant or else you may soon be forgotten. Keep it fresh and keep it evolving!