The best brands always try to do the right thing, so that their reputations will remain unsullied. But beyond that they grow, evolve and get better with time, while maintaining their special qualities from the past.
We all have a personal brand with social, cultural, intellectual, and personal needs that may not necessarily be addressed in our daily work. Address these needs and you begin to improve your brand. Here is my agenda for building your brand.
- Join and participate in community and professional organizations
- Generate media coverage about your brand
- Stay in touch, or renew old ties with friends, family and business associates
Let’s examine how each one improves your brand.
Join and participate in professional and community organizations
The best brands grow, evolve and get better with time, while maintaining their special qualities from the past.
They provide professional development opportunities. They allow you to network with peers as well as with people you would not necessarily ever meet in the normal course of your workday.
For instance, I am a member and served on the board of our local International Association of Business Communicators chapter. This allowed me to broaden my contacts in the corporate communications world, as well as form a number of friendships I probably never would have developed. I’m also a member of the North Carolina Citizens For Business and Industry. Here I meet people from all walks of life and all work disciplines. Finally, I am involved with Charlotte Reads, a local non-profit that focuses on literacy issues. This allows me to use my communication experience in support of an issue I feel very strongly about.
But it’s not enough to just join groups: you must participate to benefit fully. As a participant you have the opportunity to stretch, to gain confidence in yourself. Learn to lead by involvement on the board or in a special project.
If you are a communicator by trade, try being treasurer for the group to exercise the other side of your brain, or take on a special project about which you feel strongly.
Generate media coverage about your brand
All that professional and community involvement will certainly lead to opportunities to leverage that involvement into news about the brand called you. And, of course, there will be promotions, new assignments, and awards at work, too. More opportunities to make headlines.
Your achievements are of interest to local print, broadcast, and online media, particularly the business pages. In Charlotte, the Observer has a weekly feature called On The Move spotlighting someone in a new position. The Charlotte Business Journal has a similar feature called Moving Up. If it is a big enough move and your company won’t do it, pay the estimated $150 to place it on BusinessWire or PR Newswire. Consider it an investment in your future. Don’t forget trade publications serving your industry and alumni publications.
Seek out speaking engagements and write guest articles, too. This is yet another way to publicize your brand. And don’t forget to do news releases when you make a speech or write an article. It’s all about merchandising.
To stay top of mind, you might even want to develop your own monthly e-newsletter like Think, the Hoover ink publication. Keep it mostly informational and limit the commercial material.
Stay in touch, or renew old ties with friends, family and business associates
Everyone you know can be a brand ambassador for you, so stay in touch or reach out to those you haven’t talked with for a while.
Yet another reason for having a monthly newsletter that shares your expertise.
The network of contacts you have built over your lifetime will be instrumental if you decide to start your own business, or change jobs.
So, heed this word of advice: always deal fairly with people. One bad experience with your brand can negate 10 positive ones.
Now, get out there and start branding.
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