The Secret to Creating the Brand Called You

The Secret to Creating the Brand Known as "You."

Unless you've been living under a rock, you're familiar with the importance of branding.

Amazon. Google. Starbucks. Peloton.

When you read that list, you know what businesses I'm talking about. You know what each of these companies does, who they attract, and why. They are single words that speak volumes. 

We live in an age where brands are ever-present, ubiquitous. 

But here's what you may not have considered: You are a brand too.

In old-corporate speak, your brand is "your reputation." Then in 1997, Fast Company introduced a progressive notion way ahead of its time in the article "The Brand Called You.":

"We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You."

You may be an employee of a large corporation with a distinct brand, but within it, you are a brand defined by how you approach your career. 

Think about it. What are the last three things someone came to you at work to discuss? 

If your answer is, "Budgets, sales projections, and quarterly results," then you're likely the numbers person folks depend on. "The finance subject-matter expert," as the jargon goes.

But if you tell me, "What they did this weekend, the latest office rumor, and to ask if they can borrow five bucks," then you, my friend, have a problem, and that problem is your brand.

How would you rather be viewed? I think we both know the answer to that question.

Shaping your brand isn't something you have to do alone, but the onus is on you to take charge and shape your career path and plan.

How you take charge boils down to this: Spend less time looking ahead and focus on the now.

Yes, that's right. Your focus should be on doing work in the short term that evolves into results.

You know the saying, "Rome wasn't built in a day?" Well, neither were any of the brands mentioned above and nor will you "achieve overnight success" or "get discovered" in some magical way. 

You have to do your work, get feedback, adjust as necessary, and keep delivering while taking initiative each step of the way. 

In the next blog, we'll dive into one of the first steps in developing self-initiative: Situational Awareness, also known as "reading the room," and how identifying the roles people play can help you lay the foundation for your brand.


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