I have often spoken with our clients about Personal Branding. One of our team members runs a workshop on this subject, to great success. In today’s market, having clarity on your personal brand, what you stand for, what you bring to the table ensures that you have ownership. And more importantly – can speak clearly and precisely about who and what you are.

I recall very clearly when Tom Peters released his books – and yes the videos too – on A Passion for Excellence and In Search of Excellence. It was the same Tom Peters who in the late 1990s, in an article titled The Brand Called You, raised the concept of personal branding.

He coined the phrase “personal branding” because he clearly saw that employment, careers and work were being impacted by technology and, as a result, would change forever the corporate landscape. His claim was that personal branding was “…what it takes to stand out and prosper in the new world of work” and that it was “the promise of the value you represent”.

There are now numerous businesses which “sell” how to make your personal brand. Some are successful and others, well let’s just say buyer beware.

A story from my own career may help.

One of the many bosses I have had over a long and successful career was someone who, for me, really made this concept clear. My role required me to attend numerous meetings in our global head office located in California. This particular boss had built for himself a “presentation” in which he gave a snapshot of himself, his career, his current role and responsibilities and what he brought to the table. After this extensive “presentation” each and every time he met anybody, I commented that he just needed a slide deck to go with that. His response? “They need to know not just who I am; they need to know why they need to give me their time and attention, why they need to listen to me, and what I bring to the table”.

That is someone who understands the power of a personal brand. Not just that, but they use it clearly and powerfully. Not something that we have learned culturally, or perhaps been comfortable with, but something which we can no longer avoid.

According to Wikipedia, Personal Branding is:

“…a description of the process whereby people and their careers are marked as brands. It has been noted that while previous self-help management techniques were about self-improvement, the personal branding concept suggests instead that success comes from self-packaging (emphasis mine). Further defined as the creation of an asset that pertains to a particular person or individual (emphasis mine); this includes but is not limited to the body, clothing, appearance and knowledge contained within, leading to an indelible impression that is uniquely distinguishable. The term is thought to have been first used and discussed in a 1997 article by Tom Peters.”

In many corporate settings these days, a career needs to be managed as never before. Highly competitive environments in which you need to ensure that your brand is recognised, and clearly marked.

So what are you doing about it? Do you have an elevator pitch on YOU ready? If I asked you to say it now, out loud, what would you have? Sounds good inside your head, but what does it sound like out loud?

If nothing else, maybe I’ve started you thinking about it, and that’s a great start. Now start doing something – you will certainly regret it if you don’t.