In the world of marketing, where the main currency is brand recognition and reputation, companies strive to build their brand equity, meaning the value that clients and prospects perceive in a brand.
But the concept of brand equity applies to individuals, not just companies and products. Just like Volvos are perceived as reliable and Rolexes are perceived as luxurious, people cultivate certain traits as they navigate office relationships and seek to advance their careers. These labels affect the perception of your value as an employee and define your personal brand equity.
So, what are the characteristics of your brand? To figure this out, ask yourself these two tough questions:
- What will people say and think when you tell them you’re leaving the company?
- What won’t they miss about you?
In my career, I have gone from working as Head of Communications for a global financial services technology firm, to producing, writing and acting in a comedy show, back to working as an independent business consultant. Across the board, I have found one constant. People do business with people they like. I have learned that the more people like working with you, the more your personal brand equity increases.
However, let’s get real. Not everyone will like you. But, how can you strive to become a person who people naturally respect? A few suggestions:
- Know your client(s). View your managers and co-workers as your internal clients. Set, manage and strive to exceed their expectations as you would for an external client.
- Take an interest. Try to understand how your role fits into the priorities of your manager, team, division. Take every opportunity to find out more – even if the project seems boring or tedious – but avoid projecting yourself as one of those arrogant corporate climbers.
- Take responsibility. Do what you say you’re going to do. If you can’t deliver, admit it, explain and offer a solution. Managers need to know the truth if the project is going to be successful. How they handle bad news is a reflection on them, not on you.
- Treat everyone with respect. Every interaction is an opportunity to create a lasting positive relationship that will serve you well in future business.
- Develop your powers of self-awareness. Review what’s going well and think about what’s not going well. What could you do better in terms of the way you communicate? How can you improve your personal style?
- Be discrete. Avoid office politics and gossip wherever possible. Gossiping may bring short term popularity but can undermine your positive attributes if your colleagues think you lack discretion or trustworthiness.
- Understand your limitations. If you don’t know, don’t assume – just ask. The world of business is constantly changing and new information, concepts and contexts emerge all the time.
Success brings its own rewards. Becoming a respected colleague brings greater personal satisfaction, reflects well at review time and will ultimately facilitate your career advancement.
What’s the value your clients perceive in you? What’s your personal brand equity?
Contributed by Julia Streets