If you hear “personal branding” and you immediately think bright, shiny and dazzling, you’re missing the whole point of branding. Branding is basic. Branding isn’t superficial. (Borrowing someone else’s brand, bedazzling it, and then calling it your own is superficial.)
A strong personal brand is about having a good sense of what’s interesting, unique and consistent about you. If you can’t immediately tell me what your five professional strengths are, you’re not very in touch with your personal brand.
Need some help? Here’s a technique I use all the time: Listen carefully when others are introducing you to a colleague or friend:
- What words do they use?
- What attributes do they tend to highlight?
- How do they summarize your background or industry?
I’m willing to bet that the words are simple, tangible and accurate. As a matter of fact, if they use words like “strong track record of success” or “innovative leader,” I will buy you a drink. Those are buzz words and brands aren’t buzz words.
So go and listen for your brand.