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4 Tips on How To Use Your Personal Brand to Get Ahead in 2017

Personal branding is no longer about managing our external image. It has morphed into the foundation on which major career and life decisions are made. In other words – your personal brand – is the new currency of business. It influences how much you are paid, who goes into business with you, how and when you are promoted – and even – who marries you!

So we are on the same page - your personal brand - is your trusted reputation. It does all the heavy lifting for your career if it is properly identified and built. A strong personal brand does three things:

  • It delivers substance; a very clear value that others can always expect from you.

  • It uses emotional foundations to build trust, connection and authenticity through your unique personality and character.

  • It has a unique pull when you are not around. This has to do with the degree of influence you hold among your stakeholders.

In order to get ahead in a competitive 2017, it’s essential that you start actively managing your personal brand. A big part of that process is ensuring that you are positioning your brand the right way to the right stakeholders. After all, a relevant and compelling personal brand comprises of: one part the unique value you have to offer and one part the beneficiary of that value.

Here are 4 tips to position your personal brand for success in 2017.

Set a clear Goal for 2017

You got it right. You need to begin with the end in mind. What is it that you are hoping to accomplish? It could be getting promoted, switching jobs or simply getting more clients for your business. Whatever your goal is: ensure that you mentally own this goal and that it is the right balance of something you actually need to accomplish and one that has the capacity to push you.

Identify who has a stake in the game.

Become very clear on who has influence on the goal you’ve set for yourself. If you are hoping to get promoted, then mostly likely, the stakeholder you need to care about is your boss and probably his boss. Focus on answering the following two questions about your stakeholders. What is an important priority for this stakeholder right now? Are there any opportunities they would like to capitalize on?

Position your personal brand as the answer to the above questions.

Instead of immediately diving into what makes you so awesome, you would have spent time uncovering the need for the value you have to offer. Adopting this approach makes your personal brand more appealing to your stakeholder. Focus your value proposition on two things:

(1) the substance that you will offer and (2) outline evidence on how you will uniquely deliver this substance.

Answer SO what’s unique about my value and approach?

It is not enough to simply outline why you are the answer. You will need to take it a step further by convincing your stakeholder why you are the best answer. Spend time to do an audit of whom you are up against. Outline what makes you similar and what makes you different. Ask yourself: which of these differences will make me compelling to my target?

Amy’s Story

Amy Morin was a high-powered marketing executive. Right after graduating from a competitive business school, she landed multiple job offers in several technology firms. She eventually decided to join a mid-sized technology firm focused on using technology to empower people to make healthier life-style choices. This was the dream company for Amy since she’d made it her mission to educate others on making healthier lifestyle choices after her older sister died from chronic diabetes. For the first 3 years she landed multiple promotions. However, it seemed as if her career was stuck at being a Director. She clearly wanted to climb to the VP level. After working with a branding coach, Amy realized that she was working hard but she was not positioning her value the right way to senior leadership. She needed to influence her boss, the SVP of Marketing and her boss’s boss, the CMO.

On doing her audit, Amy noticed that both cared about delivering innovative marketing campaigns that not only inspired people to lead healthier lifestyles but also significantly improved their profits and market share. She decided that she would start positioning herself as an innovative marketing campaign executive with a reputation for delivering marketing campaigns that won both hearts and pockets. She narrowed her three most recent campaigns and her approach as a creative and analytic campaign leader who is not afraid to dive in the numbers to make strategic decisions.

Her position was strong. However, her most fierce competitor, Jacob another Director had an almost identical success to hers. She went through a thoroughly analysis of their backgrounds and accomplishments to identify similarities and differences. Then she realized that in addition to her creative streak, she was the only people manager in the marketing department who had a retention rate for diverse talent higher than both her employer’s and the industry’s standard. Her team of almost 20 people loved working for her. The CMO has been getting a lot of questions from the CEO about the division’s slipping retention rate.

Amy immediately owned this differentiator. She pitched to her boss that she wanted to set up and lead a committee to hire and retain the best talent in the industry. She also wrote a white-paper on the strategy that she used to retain her employees. She even started attending conferences that were dedicated to hiring and retaining creative people. Within 8 months Amy was still delivering amazing results with her marketing campaigns, but the CEO and the board, wanted her to start collaborate more with HR and a special organizational committee to hire, train and recruit the best people in the industry on a broader organizational level.

At the 10 month mark, Amy was called into a meeting with her boss, the CMO and Chief People Officer and offered a role as a VP of Marketing! In fact, she was the youngest person in the company to hold to the title of VP at just 29 year old. It all came down to how she positioned herself.

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