Are you feeling stuck in your career path? Do you feel that you are not being appropriately noticed at work, which impacts your opportunities for advancement? Are your networking contacts unsure about your career goals and your value proposition? If so, it is time to amplify your personal brand. In an era of YouTube stars, Instagram sensations, and the chase for the most Facebook “likes,” it is evident that personal branding has reached new heights. However, for many of us, the notion of branding seems unappealing, and evokes images of annoying self-promoters or over-the-top, narcissistic personalities. Yet, in order to attain the kind of success you seek, you will need to consistently curate and amplify your brand at work and beyond.  The following tips will enable you to raise your profile and ensure that your brand is a positive & well-known one:

1)   Identify your 3 words and 5 things

When working with clients as it pertains to branding, I start with a simple concept. What three words do you want people to associate with you? Competent? Caring? Dependable? Bright? Driven? What 5 things do you want them to know about you? One of them should be your career goals. Another might be an interesting fact about yourself. Branding is about concise messaging and sometimes we can feel overwhelmed about what we wish to communicate. This exercise boils it down to the crucial elements of your elevator pitch.  Your brand needs to be easily recalled and impactful, and this exercise will help you to develop it clearly.

2)   Make at least 2 new contacts a month

When discussing contacts, I am not talking about adding a Facebook friend or a LinkedIn connection. I mean actually meeting with someone every other week, which will enable you to increase your networking reach, while seeking ways to help others.  This may be a co-worker, with whom you have never gone to lunch, a former classmate, who you may not have seen in over 10 years, or a new neighbor. You must be active in your attempts to build your brand, which may require you to stretch your comfort zone.

3)   Enhance your public image

Brand amplification requires that you become more visible. There a variety of ways to meet this goal: write a blog post, submit a proposal to a conference, expand your LinkedIn profile with a great summary, attend a meeting of a professional association, have drinks or attend an event with high level colleagues or superiors, or volunteer to take on a more visible role (e.g. note-taker, timekeeper) in a meeting. All these actions will allow you to be noticed, heightening your brand awareness and career opportunities. Therefore, you should pledge to try one or two of these strategies within the next month.

4)   Establish your value proposition/expertise

What is your value proposition? That is, what distinguishes you from others and enables you to be seen as an important contributor? Are you a great problem solver, which can help the team jumpstart a new project?  Are you an expert communicator, who can craft the right message for your department’s needs? Are you adept at complex quantitative analyses? Some individuals are reluctant to own the label “expert,” due to their belief that they would then need to have all the right answers, all of the time. However, expertise is not about being 100% correct all the time. Rather, it is about possessing certain skills or knowledge, which provides a useful service/contribution, and is distinct from what others may be able to offer. Owning your value proposition and expertise are essential elements in establishing brand credibility.

5)   Build an emotional connection

How do people feel when they think about you? Excited? Happy? Neutral? Annoyed? If you are unsure, it is critical that you focus on developing a positive brand. One of the most important aspects of brand building is forging an emotional connection with your audience. For instance, Apple has re-emerged as an iconic brand because it was able to generate excitement about its products.  People were willing to stand in long lines for the latest iPhone, and its release evoked a sense of euphoria in its customer base. Apple customers are extremely loyal to the brand due to this emotional connection. Your goal is to create this same sense of loyalty. It requires you to be curious about other people’s lives, to be genuinely helpful to them, and to consistently work on building a relationship. It may entail you modifying your work style preferences (e.g. instead of working through lunch, going out with a co-worker), and engaging more frequently & deeply with work colleagues and networking contacts. This particular tip may be the most difficult to actualize, but the most important to attain. Therefore, I encourage you to commit to pursuing it.

While branding may never be your favorite activity, by following these tips, you will be able to become more visible, maximize your career success and reach new heights in your work life.

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