You Are A Brand.
Guess what? You are no different from a multi-billion dollar organization. Nike, Starbucks, Disney, McDonalds, etc... all have brands and so do you. Everything you have ever done makes up how others see you. You ARE a brand. When people in your business community think about you they already have an image of who you are and what you do (are they right?). If they do not know you, they may have heard of you or about your company from other people in your industry (or city), thus they will have preconceived notions about your personality, integrity, character, etc...
Business guru Tom Peters launched the “self-branding” crusade with an article in the August 1997 issue of Fast Company Magazine called “The Brand Called YOU”. In this now famous piece (it is the most widely downloaded article on the Fast Company website), Peters challenged readers to take control of their future:
Start right now: as of this moment you're going to think of yourself differently! You're not an "employee" of General Motors, you're not a "staffer" at General Mills, you're not a "worker" at General Electric or a "human resource" at General Dynamics (ooops, it's gone!). Forget the Generals! You don't "belong to" any company for life, and your chief affiliation isn't to any particular "function." You're not defined by your job title and you're not confined by your job description.
Starting today you are a brand.
If Peters is right, and I think he is, then you must make the same level of investment in yourself that we see large companies making to become an icon in the minds of those you encounter. I am not suggesting that you need a million dollar marketing budget or that you will be running full page advertisements in your local newspaper, but there are many things that you can do to promote yourself.
That is right, you need to promote yourself (I know, you mom said not to brag, but this is not bragging). Devote the time to think about your image and decide what actions you must take to raise you profile within targeted segments of your community. Different personality types will find different ways to do this, so I do not suggest you simply copy others, as to make self-promotion successful, you must make it part of you. But everyone should become comfortable with public speaking, writing and networking. Putting forth efforts in this area will help you become seen as an expert.Take control and spread the word about what makes you a valuable asset to those around you.
Have A Great Day
P.S. - Have You Read "Some Assembly Required: How To Make, Grow and Keep Your Business Relationships"? Now is a great time to check out my book as you wrap up 2007 and start planning for 2008.
Additionally, if your company or law firm is planning a 2008 Strategic Planning Session, and you know that expanding the individual networks of those on your team...AND raising the level of corporate visibility in your community is important...contact me. I will be happy to come and speak at your event anywhere in the USA, Canada or beyond (Are you listening Ireland, my goal for 2008 is to come back and speak in your wonderful country!).