Professinal Presence: Brand Me!

It has been over a decade ago when Tom Peters wrote his article “The Brand Called You” in the magazine Fast Company. The idea is to differentiate yourself and your services from others. Instead of such terms as employee or manager you must think of terms such as “CEO of Me, Inc”. Everyone brands you - politicians, marketers, your supervisor and coworkers. If you don’t take control of your brand, you could be stuck with how others judge you and not how you want to be judged. Once you have identified your brand, you must work on establishing your professional presence and letting people know about you. Bottom line: What do you want people to think when your name is mentioned? When you walk into a meeting how do you want to be perceived? Are you new? Improved? Fast-acting? What is your brand?

Branding is the first step in developing your professional presence (how you package yourself internally and externally). The main outcome of personal branding should be a clear, deep, and profound understanding of who you are, what you stand for, and what you want to be known for. It is not enough to be known for what you do — you must be known for what you do differently and effectively. You do not merely want to be known as another employee in a classification. You want to be known as the best (perhaps the only) solution to improve productivity and solve problems.

There are three areas you can focus on when developing your "Brand Me" strategy:

(1) Develop your brand. (2) Package your brand. (3) Communicate your brand. In developing your brand you need to ask yourself some basic questions. What are your values? What do you love? What do you hate? What are you insanely great at doing? What are you most proud of? What do you want to be? What is important and valuable to you? What do you want to be known for? What is your mission? The concept of branding yourself goes far beyond marketing yourself to others. Once you formulate your brand, it will serve as the basis for everything that connects people to you. Your brand is powerful.

How will you package your brand? Like it or not, people judge people based in part on appearances. First impressions are very important. Once you have established who you are, what you are about and how you want to be perceived, you must then begin to develop the professional presence that identifies your brand. Professional presence is comprised of all the resources you have to influence others. Your professional presence is the way you present yourself in the workplace: your appearance, your speaking style, and your way of interacting with others.

Next, people have got to know about you and your great work. They have to meet you and to see you. If you want people to talk about the wonderful things you do, then you must give them the opportunity to experience you. This means attending networking meetings (both social and professional) and getting involved in external organizations in your field. You may want to do volunteer work related to your field. When you share what you know, you will reap far more than you sow.

Personal branding may have been a unique idea in the '90s when Tom Peters first wrote

his article but in today’s world personal branding is vital. The market place is crowded

and the labor market is very competitive. To make your imprint and rise above the

masses, you need to have a clear idea what you're all about, what you have to offer and

to whom. What makes you different? What do you have that is unique, better,

richer? Dig deep inside yourself and find out. Once you have message down, create the

opportunities to tell others what you're all about and how you can help them. Make your

brand known!


Dianne Floyd Sutton (known to many as Lady Di) is a successful Human Resource, now Human Capital Consultant located in the metro Washington, D.C. area. She wears many professional hats.  Dianne is President of Sutton Enterprises, author, trainer, professor, expert witness, coach and actor.  She has combine...

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