Building your professional brand can help boost your profile - but make sure it aligns with your employer's corporate brand, says David Kentish.
06 November 2018 | David Kentish
We all have a brand. It's based on the behaviour and values people associate with us professionally or with the company we work for. Others will judge us on this, so it is important that a professional or corporate brand conveys the right message and does not cause any reputational damage.
Whether you are an in-house FM, work for a service provider, or are a consultant makes no odds; if you're looking to move forward and upward, you'll need your professional brand for impact.
It can take years to build your brand, but just a few poor decisions to destroy it.
This is important to remember for your own professional development, of course, but also when representing your company. The behaviour and values you display need to reflect those espoused by your business otherwise you risk bringing your company and yourself into disrepute.
Having a definitive professional brand makes you to stand out from the crowd and displays your talents and attributes.
It also opens up opportunities within the company you work for, such as being selected for new and exciting projects along with the prospect of promotion.
However, a strong professional brand also gives you visibility outside of your company, as you will come to notice - and be noticed by - businesses with similar values to your own.
So how do you develop your professional brand? Here are five steps to help you.
1. Understand your current brand
- Ask yourself pointed questions and devote time to answering them honestly.
- What are your values and beliefs?
- What is your working ethos?
- What are you good at and what do you enjoy doing?
- What results do you get?
- What is your current reputation?
- What do others think of you? And is this the same as how you think of yourself?
You may be aware but you will need to a reality check. Ask a few trusted people to give you honest feedback; accept it and act on it.
2. Understand your company's corporate brand and values
You'll need align your professional brand with your company's brand. Become a brand champion by displaying the behaviours your company espouses.
If these are incongruent, consider what actions you should take to align them.
3. Understand other people
In business and your personal life, you need to understand others, empathise with them and communicate effectively. This shapes how the world sees you and, by default, your brand.
Seek out training courses and personal development opportunities to gain interpersonal skills to improve your relationships with others. Match these skills with your core values to make sure your behaviour is both genuine and perceived to be genuine.
Your company may fund training, but it's worth making the financial investment yourself.
4. Identify your unique qualities
Developing your professional brand requires identifying your unique qualities and the value you bring to an organisation or team. Then it's about how you put that across daily. It's not about your image, logo or tag line. It's about you and your identity - and making it recognisable.
You have a brand already, develop it and hone it. Learn from your mistakes and make gradual improvements to your brand. You need to continually develop to be current and relevant.
5. Protect your brand and your company's brand
I mentioned earlier how quickly a brand can be damaged, so work hard with your colleagues, clients and supply chain to build and maintain core values such as trust and respect. Show them respect and trust them to get on and do the right thing.
Developing your brand is not straightforward and it takes time. It is about getting to know who you are and how you operate, but also who you want to become.
Once you have this identified and defined, you'll be able to adapt to the world around you.
David Kentish is director of Kentish and Co.