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Tag Archives: Better Personal Branding

Whether we’re talking about an individual or a large corporation, branding is important. As an individual, your personal brand is what others see—the qualities (whether good or bad!) and the characteristics that comprise your reputation. As a company, branding is similar. It’s the reputation that people associate with the company when they hear its name or see its logo.

When many people hear the word “brand,” they think of a logo or tagline. They might see the McDonalds arches, the Nike swoosh, or the green and yellow of a John Deere tractor. But there’s more to it than that. Much more.

On an individual level, how you look and what you say make a difference. Of course they do. BUT, your appearance and your words pale in comparison to what you DO. You might be the sharpest dresser in the office, but if you fail to turn in your work on time, you’ll be perceived in a negative light.

Your appearance and your words pale in comparison to what you DO.

Similarly, a company may have a knock-out logo and a great tagline…but those elements mean nothing if they can’t deliver a quality product or service.

So what does make a quality brand? What are some of the factors you can put into place to elevate your personal brand in the eyes of others? (The same guidelines apply to both individuals and businesses!) Consider these four…

1. Put others first

Make other people the center of everything you do. Whether co-workers or clients, consider their needs and how best to serve them. In order to do this, it’s essential to get to know others on a deep level. Listen carefully to any concerns and frustrations, as well as positive experiences. Constantly ask questions and begin to develop an understanding of those with whom you work (be they your customers, team members, or boss).

2. Be authentic

Others can see right through a faux personality. Let your best self shine!

3. Check your ego

As much as you’d like to take credit for the success of an entire project, be sure to give credit where credit is due. Acknowledge the achievements of your team members and be sure to tell them you appreciate their contributions.

Additionally, keep in mind that your ideas are not the only ideas. Build a positive personal brand by being inclusive of others and open to their thoughts and opinions.

4. Be bold with your ideas

Much like a company, individuals are more likely to be successful if they are innovators. If you have a bold new idea, talk about it! Create action. Present your idea to your boss and ask permission to pursue it. This kind of bold, self-starter behavior is what many bosses look for when considering who to promote. Just make sure to present your ideas in a respectful way that opens the door to a discourse…not a “my way or the highway” speech.

5. Focus on the day-to-day

How you act, what you say, and what you do every day can either build or detract from your personal brand. Don’t underestimate the importance of your daily interactions. Your consistent, positive presence is important for building and maintaining your brand.

Make sure your daily actions are, in general, supporting your big-picture goals. If you’d like to, for example, rise to a leadership position, think about how your typical to-do list offers opportunities to achieve that goal. What can you do to put your big-picture goals in the center of your day?


As you work on building your personal brand, remember: success doesn’t usually come over night. Focus on small actions and interactions. Everything matters.


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life as a web

When I talk to clients about building up their personal brands, I remind them that a personal brand should be consistent and reliable. This is your reputation, the overall traits that people see in you. If you behave one way with a certain group of people and then modify your behavior drastically with another group, people will pick up on that. They will begin to question your integrity and authenticity, and your personal brand will mostly likely take a hit.

Of course, it’s a good idea to modify your actions slightly (you might have a more casual approach with co-workers than clients, for instance), but your true self should remain consistent. I talk about this concept quite a bit in my chapter on authenticity in the Ten-Minute Leadership Challenge and in various blog posts about authenticity and authentic leadership.

One thing to keep in mind when you’re focusing on your personal brand is that we live in a web. You aren’t just spinning in your own orbit, having one-off conversations with a manager here, a prospective client there. Your actions and your words can have a far-reaching effect.

I’ve personally experienced this effect during my time at 3M. People would know my reputation as a go-getter and an”idea person” before I even introduced myself. Word has a way of spreading and, because of that, the people at 3M entrusted me to take on new, experimental projects, knowing I had built up a reputation of innovation and ambition.

In your own world, your reputation might either be built or shattered by the things you say on social media, your replies (or lack of replies) to emails, your courteousness or curtness, your ability to meet deadlines (or ignore them). And you know what? The web is getting smaller. We are all linked through digital channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Slack, email records) and our actions can be easily monitored (browser history, time stamps on email messages). Why not be transparent?

Putting your best, genuine self forward is the surest way to develop a personal brand that is consistent, trustworthy, and YOU.


The 5 Minute Personal Branding Pep Talk

Better Personal Branding


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UXL personal branding

Your personal brand is more than your company logo or the colors you choose for your website. Your personal brand is, to put it simply, you. How you act, what you say, how you dress, and how you address others all contributes to your personal brand. It’s what you’re showcasing to the world and, consequently, how others see you.

No empire is built overnight, just as no brand is transformed in a day. It takes time to build a reputation around yourself that others will respect.  But you CAN get started today by writing down some of the key goals you have for your personal brand and how you will go about achieving those goals. Start by thinking about a few key things:

  1. Your brand should be consistent.

If you want to make yourself known as the reliable, go-to person for any project, then be reliable! If you want to be known as the employee who goes out of their way to include others, then focus on being inclusive! Don’t try to fake it and be something you’re not, but DO try to capitalize on your assets and be consistent with your behaviors. And remember: the office pool can be quite small. If you act one way with one group of people and act completely different with others, that behavior will be noticed…and that’s frankly not the kind of attention you want.

  1. Review your daily activities.

Do your day-to-day activities support your personal brand? If you’re trying to promote your writing skills, but are constantly working on research projects or editing, then you’re not being true to yourself or your abilities and it’s probably time to reevaluate your daily work. Talk to a manager about getting more writing projects or volunteer for additional writing opportunities (like the monthly company newsletter).

Or maybe your goal is to rise to a leadership position. Think about your typical daily to-do list and ask yourself if your activities are contributing to the bigger picture. If not, how can you go about changing them?

  1. Stay rooted.

Yes, personal brands evolve. You might change your career goals or you might even switch positions within the company. That doesn’t mean your personal brand should be scrapped and you should start from scratch. Stay true to who you are and never lose sight of that. You might consider saying an affirmation to yourself every morning like, “I am a positive, optimistic person who always gets things done on time” or “I enjoy working with customers and go out of my way to make them happy.”

The best way to start working on improving or honing your personal brand is to have a plan. Do not approach it haphazardly and let others decide how they see you. YOU decide how you’d like to be seen. YOU have the power to build a strong, respected personal brand, brick-by-brick.

Need help getting started? Contact me today for guidance with strategic career planning.

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By Margaret Smith, UXL:


Recently, I led a couple of workshops at the St. Kate’s Leadership Conference, where I had the great opportunity to speak to large groups of dynamic women of all ages and professions about the importance of personal branding.

The workshops went really well, and I think that everyone had an “ah-ha moment” that day, little or large, that helped them to improve their brand and the way they promote their skills and goals.

At the end of the workshop, most of the women were generous enough to jot down some of their key takeaways. As I read through the attendee responses, I realized that they would make a really great abbreviated personal branding pep talk.

So, without wasting any more time, here are some of the most important pointers:

>> Be consistent in your actions in order to be seen in a way that aligns to your brand.

>> You are remembered more for the  questions you ask than the answers you give.

>> Personal brands evolve, but a deeper understanding of your goals keeps you grounded.

>> Your personal brand supports your leadership brand and in turn supports your company brand.

>> Realize your own personal branding potential and use this energy to build your brand the way you envision it.

>> Nothing is more important than reviewing your daily activities and questioning whether they support your personal brand.

>> Tasks that seem cumbersome or tedious can be transformed into opportunities to showcase my skills and brand.

Remember, no empire is built overnight, just as no brand is transformed in a day—baby steps, baby steps!

Perhaps today will be the day that you take five minutes to write down those daily tasks and question their place in your brand or finally create a plan of attack.

I find that many of us already know most of the things we need to do. Sometimes all that is missing is a specific plan to finally do it. The great news? I can help you with that.  Contact me today to learn how I can help you develop a strategy to start showcasing your skills and receiving the projects you do best.

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