Do you ever feel as though others don’t really “get” what it is you do, or that you’ve become pigeonholed and labelled as the “PA” or “Mr Smith’s assistant”? Do you get frustrated that others label you in a way that is neither accurate nor representative of your true skills and personality?
In my brand coaching work with executives, I find that there is often a general feeling of knowing that their skills are broad and that others in the organisation are not clear about what it is they actually do. Therefore their brand can be diluted as they become known for their job title perhaps rather than their true authentic brand and specific skill set.
The Walking TALL System for personal branding that I have developed and delivered for the past 13 years, provides seven key principles. The first one is focused on how to define your brand and use it consistently and effectively to project an authentic message every time. You should set aside time to clarify what that brand is and what you want to be “famous” for. Test this against the perceptions others have of you now. Now this article is focused on helping you to build your visibility with that brand.
It’s no good having a good Personal Brand if nobody knows who you really are, what you really do and what you’re great at. To maximise your success today and get to where you want to be in your career, you need to pay attention to your exposure and visibility.
Ask yourself and others: What do others say I do, when speaking to their contacts and network? How is my role described? What is the legacy I’d like to leave in this role when I leave?
Gaining the answer to these questions will enable you to establish where the gaps are between your view and the perceptions of others, therefore what needs to be worked on most. It will also help you to define your uniqueness – the combination of traits, skills, style and experiences that make you who you are. Write these down.
Now consider this – if you were to write your life history so far into a book, what would the title be? What would the subtitle be and the chapter headings that make up this title? This will help you to clarify your brand statement – you might be surprised what comes out of this exercise!
Define an action plan for addressing the areas you want to project most about your personality and skills set, and set a well-articulated objective of where you want to be in one year’s time. Now get to work and start planning.
When you have a clear objective written down, it is easier to ascertain who you need to be more visible with and where. For example, if you want more of an external role think about who is going to help you achieve this and who are the people you need to network with more in order to gain external exposure.
Consider my top five tips for raising your visibility:
1 Get great at presenting even if for a few minutes in meetings, and use it wherever you can – this is a perfect opportunity to express some of your skills and personality and get people talking about you
2 Volunteer for panels and discussions, both physically and online
3 Make sure your LinkedIn profile is current and meaningful, and represents you as you want to be known. Not having a LinkedIn profile will do you no favours in career progression, and in fact could be harmful to your brand and reputation. You need to be visible online.
4 Be interested in other people – this is a great way to be memorable and remarkable for the right reasons. Make notes about important personal points. People love to know you’re interested in them too, not just their business.
5 Always be aware of occasions when picking up the phone or a face-to-face chat would be more impactful than an email.
Everything you do every day adds a layer to your brand and your brand evolves organically over a period of time. Every email you send, every telephone message and conversation, every meeting and presentation all add to your brand and either reinforce key values or dilute and weaken them.
By spreading your brand and reinforcing your brand values within the right circle of people you’ll see how others will start talking about you. Your visibility will grow, and not necessarily by being out there physically all the time.
Seth Godin in his book Purple Cow, talks about “being remarkable”. When people talk about you, you are remarkable. He says, “It’s no longer good enough to be good enough. Only the exceptional, the amazing and the remarkable have the chance to build awareness, word of mouth and profits.”
And finally, at the end of every week, think about what you’ve done for your brand image and visibility this week. Have you added to “remarkable” or have you just “fitted in” and added to your stereotype label? “