The phrase “personal branding” on my previous blog elicited quite a bit of feedback – both positive and negative. Most of it personal and emotional, which as a writer is great to see as it opens up dialog and debate.
When is it appropriate to consider yourself as a “brand”? What is a brand?
A brand, Wikipedia tells us is a “Name, term, design, or other feature that distinguishes one seller’s product from those of others. Brands are used in business, marketing, and advertising. Initially, livestock branding was adopted to differentiate one person’s cattle from another’s by means of a distinctive symbol burned into the animal’s skin with a hot branding iron.”
By referring to a “personal brand” in the context of a career or an enterprise, it is not being suggested we are the recipients of an organization’s symbol of ownership or a dehumanization of people’s values or individuality. It is in fact exactly the opposite.
A personal brand is your personal stamp on the work you do (not the other way around), the skills you bring to the table and your personal way to deliver them. Just like a business or an enterprise uses a brand to distinguish their products and services to increase the worth and value proposition of their organization by getting their name known and establishing a reputation that will eventually lead to increase in sales, attraction of better talent and the establishment of a cultural legacy, an individual within that organization does the same.
Even though I have spent most of my career working within an organization, I have always seen myself as self-employed. I have always treated my career as a business with assets and liabilities, with marketing, investments and, of course, a brand.
I have always seen my services as a “product” that needs to stay relevant, up to date, improved and managed. I am proud to identify myself professionally as a brand. Like any successful business I work hard at delivering great quality work, ensuring that if the price of the services I provide goes up so does the value provided. I make sure that my services differentiate themselves from others, thus ensuring I become a multidisciplinary professional. This has proven a very good strategy – increasing both the value of my brand and my own personal fulfilment.
At the end of the day whether you call or see your services as a brand, career, job, or an enterprise, the message to take away is the need for constant evaluation against market trends, upgrading skills, improving market presence and value awareness, strategic mapping, investment and pride of ownership.
Yes Virginia, you are a person. It is how that person shows up, what quality product or services you deliver, what you are known for within your area of expertise and how you differentiate yourself from others that is your brand. And you – and only you- determine the value of it.
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Carolina M. Billings is an executive with 15+ year’s leadership experience in the fields of Business Development, Human Resources and Finance. As CFO-CHRO of a multi-million business conglomerate, she performs a truly interdisciplinary role within a portfolio of diverse industries ranging from Supply Chain, Logistics & Distribution, Wealth Management, Furniture Import, Sales & Distribution as well as Interior Design. She champions leadership initiatives as well as empowering and coaching/mentoring others to lead. Developing a hybrid of Finance and Human Resources has enable her to become leading business partner. Her great ability to influence and engage others in the pursuit of goals and objectives makes her a true innovator and change agent. Carolina is currently pursuing her Masters in Interdisciplinary studies with Royal Roads University, She holds Graduate Certificates from Cornell University and Queen’s University in the fields of Change Management and Leadership. She is a Co-Active Professional coach currently doing her practicum towards Certification with ICF. She holds a CHRL designation and a High Honor’s HRM Graduate Certificate.
Carolina is the founder of Big Fish Coaching a private practice specializing in personal leadership, career coaching, conflict resolutions and life change management.
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