Creating Your Personal Brand
By Patrick Desbrow, CIO and VP-Engineering, CrownPeak
Your personal brand is what others will speak of when you are not around. This is happening right now whether you are aware of it or not. It is important to make time and take control of your personal brand both within your company and beyond as you are part of the technology industry. Some of the best IT professionals in the industry have leveraged this skill by dedicating time each week to build and maintain their personal brand. You can do it too. Here is how:
“You need to create a message that is memorable and enhances your personal brand. Use the verbal business card to deliver a message that reflects your new brand identity”
1.Create a ‘Word in a Box’ and apply it through your words and actions.
2.Create your verbal business card.
3.Develop stump speeches for your top 5 projects.
4.Get out of the office and practice these new skills.
5.Follow five IT groups that relate to your current job.
6.Comment on topics in a thoughtful way at least once a month.
7.Write blogs like this and post them on social media.
‘Word in a Box’
Imagine a single word that represents your identity. It could be: 'Programmer', 'Engineer', 'Architect', 'Manager', or 'Leader'. It could also be: ‘Confident’, ‘Translator’, ‘Change Agent’, ‘Productive’, or ‘Quality. Each of these words evokes images, feelings, and certain levels of confidence. Make sure you pick your ‘Word in a Box’ wisely. Consider these questions: Are you?
Proactive ----------|-------------- Reactive
Helping ------------|-------------- Blocking
Novice -------------|-------------- Experienced
Leading ------------|-------------- Contributing
Next, think of ways to demonstrate your brand (Word in a Box) in your words and actions.
Think about 'what to say', 'what to write', and 'how to present yourself'. Consider:
1.What words should you use in meetings, emails, and presentations?
2.Are you writing regular status reports to your manager
3.Do you lead meetings? You should.
4.Do you use an agenda? You should.
5.Use these opportunities to create and maintain your brand.
Verbal Business Card
Each time you introduce yourself, you are using your 'verbal' business card. You will deliver your verbal business card many more times than a 'traditional' business card. So what will you say: "Hi, my name is [Name]. I am the [Job Title] at [Company]. I am working on a new project called [Project]". This is accurate but not very compelling. You need to create a message that is memorable and enhances your personal brand. Use the verbal business card to deliver a message that reflects your new brand identity. For example: “My name is … and I specialize in
Develop your Stump Speeches
Stump speeches are a collection of prepared standard messages used by politicians running for office. The next step in your brand journey is to expand the messaging by leveraging the power of stump speeches. You can use the following method to prepare written and verbal status reports for your top projects. These will be useful when you have to present yourself and your brand on short notice.
Get out of the office and practice these new skills
It takes time to define your brand and get the messaging right. The next step is to practice it out in the wild. Get out of the office and attend a technology meeting, forum, or meet-up at least once a month. Make a point to meet several new people and try to make a connection with at least one person. Start with your verbal business card and move on to a stump speech or two. Remember to listen to their stories.
Another good exercise at these events is to identify one person at the meeting who is an effective speaker and presents a strong personal brand. Ask yourself, “What tools and techniques is he/she using to control their brand?” Consider incorporating some of their methods into your style. This can be a very fast way to fine tune your personal brand and test variations in a safe environment where there are limited penalties for failure.
Have an online presence
Remember to keep the conversation going after these meetings. Most of these forums and meet-ups also have online sites. Join the online conversations and post comments at least once a month around the time of the meeting. Make sure the message is well thought of and consistent with your personal brand. The goal is to keep your new branding going in your local IT community with a modest amount of effort.
It is also a great idea to search for IT groups on social media sites related to your current job. Pick the five best groups and stay updated on the topics. Comment on topics that relate to your personal brand in a thought ful way. Consider starting new topics when your skills and confidence grows.