Personal branding. I admit I am still deciding whether I like the term. Branding always reminds me of black and white cowboy movies or it brings to mind ‘80s’power dressing’. And both of those remind me of my age!

But whether we like it or not the world experiences us. We have a brand. It isn’t as simplistic as what clothes we wear. Our attitudes, personalities and approaches feed into our brand.

The Springboard programme builds confidence and assertiveness to help us move towards our personal goals but having explored values and strengths as the cornerstones to our building. These too feed into our brand. A brand based on our values and strengths will be authentic. Promoting who we are in a way that we are comfortable with.

Our brand does not mean conformity. If we are going for the next position then we need to highlight our differences. A great site recommended in a training I attended (yes, even trainers go to training!) highlights this. You may be an excellent HR consultant, everyone else applying for that dream HR job is going to also be an excellent HR consultant. Sally Hogshead at ‘How to Fascinate’ (www.howtofascinate.com) encourages us to seek out our differences (strengths, values, communication styles – yes ‘our brand’). We will then be able to market ourselves effectively but importantly authentically.

What made How to Fascinate so useful? I was trying to rewrite my CV. Something I do all the time with others but when it comes to ourselves we are often lost for words. The quick profile test (free and useful) provided me with some great adjectives to describe my differences. Couple these with a noun and you have what Sally calls “Your Anthem”. A couple of word pairs that is you in a nutshell. You personally – not your job title. LinkedIn is full of ‘HR consultants’, ‘Computer programmers’ and ‘Credit controllers stamp’.

So, what do others come to you for? Tactful communication? Methodical expertise? If you don’t know, then ask others. I always encourage feedback from others as part of the Springboard journey. Remember feedback is a gift: accept gratefully and then decide if it is right for you. Some feedback might be treasured as enabling and some might be destined for the charity shop (keeping the gift analogy). You will never know until you ask. I asked some trusted colleagues (helpful), my sons (less so) and my husband (diplomatic) for feedback on what I deliver. Eventually I landed on ‘insightful initiative’. It sits well with be because it is who I am.

Our personal brand is about communication. We do not have to be loud, outrageous or power dress to communicate our strengths and values. It is about being the tall poppy – elegant, daring to celebrate your difference and being visible.

This article was written by Emma Williams, Director of EJW Solutions Ltd.

www.ejwsolutions.co.uk @ejwsolutions

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of The Springboard Consultancy.

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