How important is establishing your personal brand? Does this also apply for those who are in a corporate setting?
Your personal brand is everything.
Let's say you work in a company with 5,000 employees. You start out at the very bottom in maybe a junior position, or even in a department like customer service.
Your goal isn't to stay at the bottom, correct?
It's to move up to maybe a manager position. If you're ambitious, director. If you're dedicated, maybe even a C-Suite position.
To move up, most people think you need to put your head down, work hard, then you will reap the benefits.
I tried that. I spent four whole years working hard, outperforming everyone in my department, thinking that my numbers alone would get me to move up.
Guess where it got me in that company?
So if that doesn't work, then what does?
Defining your personal brand.
Your personal brand needs to not only align with your company culture, but it needs to align with the position you want to have.
If you can't make your personal brand align with your company's culture, you still need to define your personal brand so you can go out and apply for positions at other companies, where you will be a culture fit.
If you can make your personal brand align with your company's culture, then you need to figure out exactly what the ideal person who fulfills the role you want looks like.
How do they act? What do they do? What do they wear? How do they speak? What do they say? What do they know how to do? Who are they connected with?
The answer the each of these questions are just layers within the personal brand that you need to define.
Once you have that down, you have part of the puzzle completed. But there's still more you need to work on.
If you're a minority, you need to lean on your strengths. But you also need to overcome the weaknesses that come with that. For example, I'm asian. Asians are seen as passive. If I don't overcome the weakness that comes with the stereotype within my race, then I don't have a chance to get ahead. But I also need to hone in and highlight my skills that do come with my stereotypes.
If you're a woman, it's even harder. Leaders are supposed to be caring, thoughtful and honest. Women are already expected to be that way. So when a woman tries fulfilling this role, then they are overlooked. So they need to do something different to separate themselves from the rest. This means being bold, strong and powerful.
Every now and then, I have a conversation with a colleague of mine, May Busch. She rose up from being a Junior Analyst to becoming COO of Morgan Stanley Europe. She did this by investing in her personal brand: http://www.inc.com/leonard-kim/how-this-quiet-girl-rose-to-become-coo-of-morgan-stanley.html
In a corporate setting, you too can move up to the top, but you need to know how to maximize your brand's presence, then put it into action.