As 19th century writer John Ruskin said, “A thing is worth precisely what it can do for you.” Unless those around you recognize your everyday contributions, they have no way of realizing your importance. So you have to find ways to promote yourself – keeping in mind that it is not about bragging or arrogance, it’s about career and teamwork. Here are three strategic ways to do that.
- Get clear about what differentiates you. Maybe you overcame unique challenges or you have a special background or talent. Dig deep and uncover what it is that you bring to the table that nobody else can. That’s where your brand will find power and influence.
- Manage your message and filter your identity. What are the main things that you want people to think when they hear your name or see you walk into the room? Select 2-3 primary attributes to emphasize and showcase as your distinguishing brand traits.
- Be true to you. Effective branding should become second nature to you, so that it happens naturally. Find a way of communicating your value that feels comfortable, and then use it to market yourself on a daily basis.
Remember the meaning and impact of a real brand. It’s not something you switch on and off or roll out like an ad campaign or updated product – it’s a natural magnetic force that conveys leadership charisma and backs it up with tangible metrics and measurable performance.
Predictable Promotion Exercises:
Your boss is busy and your colleagues are distracted. So you have to capitalize on windows of opportunity to demonstrate your value or talk about your contributions and ideas. Here are three exercises to help you succeed at that kind of laser beam self-promotion.
- Think of your accomplishments, experiences, stories, and ideas. Pick one or two of them that you wish others were aware of since it will help them know you better in a way that reinforces your core brand. Hone in on those.
- How do you get the things you identified in step #1 across? Do you need a short narrative, an elevator speech, or a way to interject an innovative idea at your next team meeting? Imagine everyday scenarios and how you can capitalize on them.
- Think of those you are trying to target. What is their preferred style of communication, when are they most receptive to hearing ideas and information, and what do they need most right now to help them succeed? Match those to your own brand messaging schedule to figure out how to get noticed when it will matter most.
Many executives have a brand that they pull off the shelf at critical times, so that they can sell themselves more effectively during board meetings, conventions, interviews, and evaluations. But if you want to be consistently noticed, valued, and promoted you need to provide your organization with daily reminders of your unique value-adding attributes and contributions. That random encounter and chance to chat while walking across the parking lot could be your ticket to the top and is often more important to a leader’s career than a formal meeting or official interview.
As a pioneering and visionary innovator, Sarah is a certified professional image consultant and brand strategist, speaker, trainer and author. Her company, Illustra Consulting, provides leading-edge image and brand management strategies for top leaders and high achievers who wish to take their career to the next level. She also delivers innovative and inspiring corporate workshops to assist large organizations in strengthening their corporate brand.
Copyright © 2012, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS
1-800-267-3245, [email protected]
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