What do we mean by personal brand? I define it as your unique promise of value, or simply your reputation. It’s how you present yourself to others; it’s the quality of your work; it’s the care you take on the big things and the small things. It could be about something as small as showing up on time, or taking the extra step to make a difference for someone. It’s about the strengths you were born with, the skills you developed, and the choices you make now to create future opportunities.
Here are four keys to developing your own personal brand:
* Tell your story. Effective personal branding is based in authenticity. You need to know who you are and what makes you exceptional before you start to build and express your brand. Think about what makes you stand out: Which of your skills motivate you? Which get others excited about you? What do you want to be known for?
* Value your passions. To me, this is essential. In fact, I’d say that the “passion quotient” — or PQ — is just as important to me as the “intelligence quotient” — or IQ. It’s important that I surround myself with smart and interesting people who integrate their passions into what they do. For example, you wouldn’t know it to look at them, but two members of my leadership team make time for music. In fact, they perform publicly on the weekends — and we’ve even had them perform internally at large firm events. Another is a board member and extremely active in fundraising for a charity personally important to her. Another is an avid runner, who runs marathons. The list goes on. When you’re living in alignment with your values and integrating your passions into what you do, you inspire others to action.
* Give back. By contributing to a cause, especially when you give your time, you get to showcase your strengths and demonstrate your values. Giving to others can also provide you with new skills, new network connections and a true sense of fulfillment.
* Stand out online. You use social media in your personal life, but you need to make sure the social media tools you use, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, are also helping you express your brand appropriately beyond your friends to a much larger audience. It’s important that when a potential employer or client “Googles” you, the search reflects the value you want them to see. We encourage people to do an “online audit” and adjust their online brand to best reflect their value.
Finally, it’s important to remember that brands are not stagnant. They require care and feeding.
Whether you’re a student, a young professional, or an established pro, it’s never too early or too late to assess the status of your personal brand and focus on what you can do to continually enhance it.
— Bob Moritz ’85, Chairman and Senior U.S. Partner, PwC
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