Personal Branding – A Journey Towards Continuous Improvement

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Personal Branding is a continuous process where you discover, evaluate, grow and showcase "what you bring to the table".  It involves creating a personal brand and image, that represents your best qualities, skills, and experience.  It is the combination of what values and principles are important to you and how you showcase those values in your actions and behaviours.

 


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Personal branding helps you to stand out and get noticed as it distinguishes you from others by focussing on your unique persona.  You can ask yourself: "How do I market myself to influence other people so when they have to make a decision about me, it's positive?" explains Elmarie Pretorius.

A positive personal brand can open doors and opportunities for career growth and give you a competitive advantage.  It also helps to build trust because when people feel like they know who you are and what you stand for, they're more likely to trust you.

Your personal brand becomes your intentional "silent salesperson", speaking for you in positive terms and "selling you" to your preferred audience.  Your brand persona should therefore be present at all moments of contact, and "moments of truth", such as in your written and verbal communication, when you do presentations or in meetings with any and all stakeholders, or "watercooler moments" etc.

Your brand persona is strengthened through consistently sending the same positive messages about you to other people.  It's about identifying personal qualities that we would like to emphasize to others.

The 2-Step approach to creating your Personal Brand

In order to uncover your own personal vision and strengths you can do a vision statement for yourself.  This will help you to understand yourself and your goals and help to uncover what skills you have and which additional skills you need to acquire.  It will also form the basis of the message or story of your personal brand.

Step 1: Personal vision statement

This is your own paragraph that encapsulates everything you would like to be, do, and have in your career.  It will define what success looks like to you and must reflect your values, goals and purpose as well as how you want to behave.

It should be short and concise, inspirational and easy to memorise.  Furthermore, it should be clear, engaging and realistic whilst describing a positive and fabulous future.

 "Vision without action is merely a dream.  Action without vision just passes the time.  Vision with action can change the world!" – Joel Barker

When you think about this paragraph about yourself, ask yourself what personal qualities do you most want to emphasise in yourself and how can you practically use and display these qualities in your work environment. And because your view of yourself and the future changes and evolves, it is important you periodically review your vision statement.

Step 2: Personal SWOT analysis

It is very useful and vital to do a personal SWOT analysis to analyse and understand your: 

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses (or rather areas of improvements)
  • Opportunities
  • Threats

Strengths – Here you should ask yourself what are you good at now?  (Main, Build or Leverage)

  • What are your competitive skills?
  • What is your experience?
  • What are your best abilities and that differentiate you from your peers? Like what makes you stand out in the crowd?

Weaknesses – Take an inner look at what are you bad at now? Or rather what are the areas you really should improve on drastically? (Remedy or Stop)

  • What skills and knowledge are you lacking?
  • What were the negatives on something like your performance review?
  • Which areas have people mentioned you can improve on like for example time management or anger etc?

Opportunities – Then look at what will give you a good future? (Prioritise and Optimise)

  • Identify opportunities in your company that will help you achieve your goals and your fabulous future.
  • Or are there perhaps new career paths that you can take?

Threats – What will give you a bad or "unwanted" future? (Counter, Minimise)

  • Pinpoint company changes and market changes that will affect you.
  • Detect the new technologies that might keep you from reaching your full potential and goals.

This is the starting point and are the first doable steps on your important journey towards creating and sustaining your own unique personal brand. 

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is famously quoted as saying, "Your brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room."  Make sure you like what they say.

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