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Personal Branding for Beginners

Take a look at well-known successful organisations such as Google and Apple it’s clear that branding is powerful. Organisational branding is a huge topic on which numerous books have been written and as HR professionals we are aware of the power of an organisation’s employer brand on its ability to attract and retain talent. In this post I’d like to take this down a level and to apply branding to us as individual professionals.

Now, I’m not saying for one minute that you should take the same effort to your brand as organisations do but, when you consider that a brand is about an association of positive qualities,it is worth some thought.

I think for HR professionals having a strong a positive brand has a number of benefits including an individual’s desire and willingness to engage and work with you and your ability to influence – enabling you to perform and progress. Perhaps compare the characteristics (knowledge, skills, behaviours) of contrasting colleagues. How do managers interact with the excellent colleague (the one who is approachable, business focused and gives consistent advice) against the poor one (who may be standoffish, operating in isolation and either vague or inconsistent)?

My interest in this topic was sparked when I attended a presentation by a consultancy firm some years ago. They talked the assembled audience through a three-stage exercise to assess the alignment of personal brand with your values.

  1. Your brand – write down three things you think you are externally known for – how would other people describe you? How do you know this? If you’re not sure you might want to ask.
  2. Your values – write down the top three things that are most important to you – what do you stand for? Referring to the CIPD Profession Map, specifically the values, can help here.
  3. Your culture – write down the three most important attributes or behaviours to you to live your values (from stage 2). The core behaviours from the CIPD Map many come in handy.

Once you’ve followed these stages, reflect on whether the results are in alignment. Does your brand reflect your values and also your behaviours? You may want to work on any areas of misalignment to strengthen your personal brand, and discussing this with your line manager or mentor would be a good start.

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