ALTHOUGH PERSONAL BRANDING has been around for a while as a concept, 2010 was certainly the year when it made the transition from fad to mainstream career development tool. It’s proved vital for those accountants trying to keep their job, secure a promotion or get back into employment.
There is a misconception in professional services that personal branding is rather vulgar, a kind of brash hogging of the limelight.
Nothing could be further from the truth. A strong personal brand is all about being well known for what you do best by the people that matter.
All of us build reputations from our daily interactions with people. Personal branding helps us to manage those interactions to build a positive reputation and brand for ourselves. It is a common sense strategy that enables accountants to influence key players and achieve their desired outcomes.
The key is to build your brand by design rather than risk it being erroneously branded by others. Like a product or service, your brand is affected by people’s perceptions of you and their experience of dealing with you.
If you create positive perceptions and experiences, your personal brand will flourish. If individuals encounter a negative interaction with you, then you risk weakening or even damaging the reputation and brand you’ve tried so hard to build.
People talk more about bad experiences than good ones and personal brands can be damaged pretty quickly. Word of mouth is a key tool in your personal branding kit bag; it can work really well or really badly for you. The trick is to try and manage it effectively.
So, if you are looking to 2011 as the year when you get a new job, secure a promotion, keep the job you’ve got or just develop in some way, investing time on your personal brand will help.
Start to take a more proactive approach to managing people’s perceptions of you. Make sure your brand is realistic and reflective of your individual strengths and personality.
If you strive to be something you are not, it’s likely that your brand will unravel in time. So make your first step a review of your strengths and people’s current perceptions of you. What aspects of your brand do you need to highlight or emphasise? And which aspects do you need to fine-tune or perfect?
John Timperley is managing director at The Results Consultancy
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