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.