Why Your Personal Brand is so Important – WHOA! Network

By Mary Eileen Williams

Okay… so you’re like me—an everyday kind of gal—and wonder how in the world a personal brand could make a difference in your life. Well, according to Susan Chritton, a Master Personal Brand Strategist and the author of Personal Branding for Dummies, consciously creating a brand for yourself will enhance your relationships, build your self-esteem, and help you reinvent yourself in ways that are meaningful to you.

Whether you’re looking for a job, wanting to build a bigger presence at work, or hope to contribute to your community through volunteer opportunities, developing a personal brand will help you distinguish yourself as a person of substance. Moreover, as you change and evolve at midlife, your personal brand becomes even more important. Women especially strive to become more authentic and connect deeply with our innate wisdom and gifts as we age, and a personal brand will help us share our talents in ways that are meaningful to us.

Therefore, if you’re hoping to get more out of your life at this transformative time, I invite you to take a look at this short, 15-minute video. It’s the second in my broadcast series for the WHOA! (Women Honoring Our Age) Network and Susan’s ideas will have you thinking of yourself and your brand from a fresh perspective.

After all, we’ve spent years catering to the needs of others and now is the time to concentrate on our selves. So, take a look, connect with your special gifts, and brand yourself for success… it’s the FEISTY thing to do!

Why Your Personal Brand is so Important – WHOA! Network



Personal Branding during the Middle Years

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!

Personal branding done well requires an implemented strategy, especially at mid-life. It keeps your career current and exciting at a time when many others are happily hanging out in routine. Setting a strategy to continue to grow in your career and continually evolve your personal brand takes courage, insight, and vision.

Begin by observing yourself in your current position. Your personal brand is based on your authentic self so don’t be afraid to let your differences begin to show as long as those differences are appropriate for your situation.

In our world today it is likely that you will need or want to reinvent yourself professionally. Your personal brand can support your reinvention by reminding you that at your core you are still you and need to be your authentic self. Your reinvented self may be wearing a new outfit, but in all that you do, no matter what you call yourself, you are still you. Your personal brand helps you identify those core pieces of yourself that you want to express and use in the world.

Reinventing yourself means you are ready to take responsibility for your life and work. Life is an adventure and as scary as it is, embrace your role in the creation of your new self. Don’t be afraid to learn new things. In order to build your confidence, you first need to shift your mindset. Start out expecting great things for yourself and having faith that the changes you are making will turn out well. Transform your negative thoughts into the positive actions that will help you move to where you want to be.

Here’s the great news: Studies show that most workers who change careers at older ages say they enjoy the new job more than the old job. So look at this time of change as a new opportunity to follow the dream you’ve always wanted to achieve. Ask yourself how can you combine your wealth of experience, knowledge, and personality to deliver something that the younger workforce can’t. Brand yourself to stand out, regardless of your age.

Personal Branding and the Hollywood Gig Model

Casting for the Hollywood gig model

Are you ready to be cast in the workplace as you would be cast in a Hollywood movie? A huge workforce trend is the movement toward a gig economy, one that resembles how the movie industry works. Think about how a film is made:

 1.  Someone wants to make the movie and finds the money to fund it.

 2.  The key players are secured: the director, producer, and lead actors.

 3.  Everyone else is hired, each person bringing special skills to the set.

 4.  The whole crew works on the movie for as long as it takes to complete the project.

  5.  All the people hired for the movie say their goodbyes and move on to look for their next gig.

Many workplaces now function this way, and many more workplaces will do so in the future. As a result, workers need to be agile and able to clearly communicate what they can do and who they are.

Having a strong personal brand will serve you well in the gig economy. Instead of hoping that someone notices you and offers you steady, long-term employment, you must be prepared to take your personal brand on the road and leverage your skills. Chances are, you may not be an employee in the future; you may be a free agent.

The workplace has become project-oriented. More and more work is being organized into smaller segments that are facilitated by project teams. Projects are a great way to grow your brand because they have a beginning and an end, have specific deliverables, and often have measurable results.

Start thinking now about how you can take on more project work, and you’ll be taking a crucial step toward becoming more employable. Toward this end, stop thinking like an employee and start thinking of yourself as a company of one offering your clients the best service that you can provide.

Consider an example of how a project gig might work: You join a project team and work on a project for two years. That project ends, and you take what you have learned and join former coworkers at a start-up business. You work really hard to build the company, and it’s sold to a larger company. You leave and go to work for a competitor where you settle in for three or four years. That company merges with another business, and you leave to set up your own consulting firm. This type of transition goes on until you work fewer and fewer hours — not necessarily retiring, but at least modifying your work to fit your older lifestyle.

Managing Personal Change

Having colleagues and friends for support makes managing change so much easier. Last March I received a call from Wiley Publishing asking me if I would be interested in writing Personal Branding for Dummies. I consider myself an expert in the field but had only written articles, never a book. While working with clients in my role as a Career and Personal Branding Strategist Coach, I had mastered guiding people through the process of change. Now it was my turn to go through a huge change – becoming an author. Writing a book was a completely different experience and put me in much the same position as my clients – having to adapt to a new role and a new way of working.

One of the first things I did during this time of change was to pause and think about what knowledge and techniques I used to guide my clients through career and identity changes. I then began to write my ideas in the “Dummies” style, with easy to understand language in a how-to book that smart people could use to develop their own personal brands. I wanted to be true to my own brand of creating community and putting people at ease as they read the book, so I gathered some of my favorite personal branding experts and asked them to contribute their specialized expertise. The book takes the reader through a step by step personal branding process. It is filled with exercises and practical examples of how others have been successful in uniquely building their personal brands.

I’m very proud of Personal Branding for Dummies as it hits the shelves at the first of June. It is an easy to use, practical guide that can support just about everyone in his or her career.

Aligning Your Brand with the Company’s Brand

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. [Read more…]

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