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Creating Your Own Brand

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I’ve made a career out of helping entertainment companies develop brands that set them apart from the crowd. Years ago, while attending an industry conference, a client introduced me as the “sweepstakes queen of cable.”  At first, it felt good to be the queen.  Then it quickly felt uncomfortable.  The title my client gave me came from my success at driving viewers to watch more TV by enticing them with prizes like “Watch Shark Week on the Discovery Channel and win the chance to go shark feeding in Tahiti!"—that sort of thing. That was one of the hats I proudly wore, but it wasn’t the most important thing that I wanted to be remembered for. His label marginalized my talents and dreams.

That’s when it dawned on me—what we think we are isn’t always what others perceive.  And that left a big question in my mind: What was I doing to serve my own brand?  Here I was creating some of the most powerful brands on television, and neglecting my own brand in the process. So, I gave it a lot of thought—why not use what I'd learned for myself?  How often do we give away what we know, and don’t use it for our own benefit?

That night I went home and wrote my own brand strategy.  By declaring myself “the premiere brand strategist for the digital age” and putting that line on my business cards, website, bio—well, anywhere my name appeared, I started attracting more of the work I loved to do. By saying it, I became it.

So think about it. How are your colleagues and peers branding you? Does it match up to how you want to be perceived?

In this series, I want to help you rediscover and declare your unique talents and abilities so you can increase your influence and effectiveness at work. It’s about being seen for who you are and exactly what you do better than anyone else, and not letting others define you.

To get started, check off which of these statements apply to you. Answer honestly!

Passion: Are you feeling passionate about your work? Do your current projects and the people on your team excite you and share your values?

Packaging: Do you look the part you're playing or want to play? Does the way you dress reflect your professionalism and unique qualities?

Support: Do you have mentors, coaches, and cheerleaders there to support you? Have you checked in with them this week?

In Demand: Are you in demand or getting passed over for promotions and left out of meetings?  Are you getting referrals?

Expectations: Have you been realistic about meeting goals and deadlines?  (Pushing yourself and others to meet unreasonable deadlines is a formula for disaster.)

Honesty: Can you deliver on what you're promising?  Or is your communication over-hyped?

Integrity: Are you walking your path with integrity, or just playing politics?

Fresh, Different: Have you tried something new this week? Taken a risk? Done it differently than before? Or are you just cruising?

Interaction: Have you engaged someone and inspired her or him to action?

Quality: Does what you’re doing meet the high standards of quality you and your target audience expect and deserve?

Professional: Are you feeling in sync with your life’s mission? Are you showing your enthusiasm? How’s your energy?

Focused: Have you prioritized effectively? Did this week's accomplishments support your company's bottom line and business goals?

Nurturing: Did you do something this week that made you feel good about yourself? Did you show a client, customer or co-worker how much he or she means to you?

Gratitude: Did you experience joy this week?

You're on your way!

Next week I'll explore what it means to be a brand and how standing out in an authentic, positive way can propel your career forward.

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Comments (9)

  • Great post!
    I definatly like the part when you said,"That’s when it dawned on me—what we think we are isn’t always what others perceive." I think a lot of people miss that, and Im glad you pointed it out.Im a marketing major and I recently discovered an interest in personal branding and social media strategy, and I think these two put together make a powerful recipe for creating a powerful brand.

    Looking forward to your next post!

    - Rachel Howe

  • Just last evening I wrote a friend that I was feeling lost and wondering how I'll ever be able to traverse from where I am now (working in a job that isn't me) to my dream career and creating that life for myself.

    And this morning, I read your article and it has given me the tools to be 'unstuck' and proactive in creating a personal brand to support my dreams.

    Thank you!

  • Wonderful article, Robin! Creating a brand is my goal for 2011. I look forward to the next article.

  • Robin, as always, you've given me more great ideas for helping others move forward in their personal and professional lives. I look forward to each of your postings.

  • Robin,

    Thank you...what a great start to understanding how to create our brand! Last year, I polled my clients and associates to see what word(s) they would use to describe me and I've just revisited that list as the basis for creating my brand statement. Looking forward to your next installment.

    Patti Smith

  • Robin as always you hit it right on the nail's head and your questions are ones that we should be asking ourselves each and every week. Looking forward to your next post!

  • Robin,
    Great article! I'm so glad I ran across your book one day. It spoke to me and was the right thing at the right time. I am moving in the right direction. Not sure where I'm going yet, but your words and advice and been extremely helpful! I feel like I'm finally on the right tract. Thank You.

  • Robin, great article - will definitely pass this post along on my blog, Twitter. Great to see YOUR brand gaining broader audience as your no hype approach to personal branding is so on point.

  • Great article with action provoking questions that even someone with a strong brand can benefit from. The way we think we are being perceived can often be drastically different from the way we are being perceived. We need to take responsibility for the latter. Thanks so much

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