You should actively build your personal brand over time rather than let it be something that is thrust upon you
Much has been written about how to build a personal brand — that is, how you want to be known to people or what you want to be known for. However, very few of these articles have focused on how to accomplish this task in a professional services firm.
That matters because professional services firms have some unique traits: They typically don’t have much in the way of traditional assets such as factories, patents, or inventory. The “assets” of a consulting, accounting, or law firm are the collective talents of its people — their accumulated knowledge, expertise, insights, and ideas. Since the company’s assets go up and down the elevators each day, executives can generate substantial value by enhancing the reputation (and hence the value) of their people. This is where personal branding comes in.
Your personal brand, in essence, is a summation of your professional capabilities and reputation. When talking to our professionals at Navigant about personal branding, for ease of understanding we sometimes use the words “brand” and “reputation” interchangeably. And they are inextricably linked. But just as you have a personal reputation grounded in personal characteristics — for example, being a strategic thinker, or meticulous, or a hothead — you should cultivate a professional reputation built around your professional capabilities, expertise, and experience.
If you understand the importance of a personal brand, then you will see the value in proactively working to cultivate it. You should actively build your personal brand over time rather than let it be something that is thrust upon you through your work experience. No matter the stage of your career, you can take three actions to support the development of your personal brand.
The impact of a well-developed personal brand can be far-reaching. It can help employees elevate their profile, distinguish themselves from their colleagues, pursue the most interesting projects, and build a diverse set of marketable skills. It can also act as a homing beacon for people, both internally and externally, who need someone with specific knowledge and experience, as well as to attract and retain clients. And it can ensure that you — and more important, your career — don’t get lost in the shuffle.
In subsequent posts, I’ll be sharing tips and tricks on how to build your personal brand, including general best practices and recommendations, as well as how to use social media to amplify your brand.
This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.