Saturday, April 18, 2009

What is your personal brand?

Have you tried following exercise? Starting with your own name, try Googling various phrases and find out those phrases which show up your name or articles in the first page of results. Last week I spent some time doing this exercise and I found following phrases: “what is technical leadership”, “types of technical leaders”, “technical leadership ecosystem”, “technology captives”, “prototyping competency”, “black swan innovation”. When I mentioned this to my wife, her immediate reaction was, “You are jobless!” Agreed. When you are self-employed and have a home-office, there is a thin line between “working” and “being jobless”. Then I asked her to type her name in Google. For the next half-an hour she was engrossed finding out more about herself and her namesakes from Internet. Whether you like it or not personal brand matters.

During my workshop on technical leadership, we have a session where each participant reflects for some time and then writes what she believes is an apt representation of her personal brand. Here are a few samples from the last workshop.

Then I point to each card and ask, “If you are walking by this board where these cards are pinned and you see this card, will you remember it if you have a problem pertaining to this expertise?” It is a moment-of-truth for many. For example it does not take an expert to see that “X-ray image detection and processing” is much sharper than “Computer science theory and application” or “Walk with us!”

In case you are serious about personal branding, check out 3-step process given by Jan Marie Dore: Three Keys to Developing a Personal Brand. The steps are: (1) Identifying a clear, unique strength, talent or expertise (2) Identifying a message that communicates that uniqueness (3) Persistently communicating the message through various channels. You may also want to check out my earlier article: Winning the boxing game: Art of personal branding.

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