by J. Barry Vanek, PMP,
What branding does:

Branding influences people. Branding generates an emotional stimulation. People make decisions on emotions, and back them with facts.

Branding. . .WORKS!!! Personal branding is the process whereby people and their careers are marked as ‘brands.’ Your personal brand determines the amount of respect you receive and the degree of security you obtain.

What is your brand?

Your brand is determined by how others perceive you:

What others believe you can do for them (men).
What others know you have done in the past (women).
Who you “are” (your character).

What you “do”.

Discovering your brand

Write down 3 words that describe YOU. Send an email to 24 friends, colleagues, vendors, former and current bosses, former employees— Anyone who has worked with, for, or alongside you in some capacity:
Subject line: “<first name>, I need your help.”
Body text: ‘I have retained a career coach to assist me in my efforts to advance my career. He has instructed me to ask your candid opinion about me. If you would, please help me by answering six questions. I would be most grateful.

  • What 3 words come to mind when you think of me?
  • What do you feel are my strongest characteristics or traits?
  • What do you feel are my weakest characteristics or traits?
  • Is there anything about me that you find offensive?
  • What type of image do I present to you?
  • Any suggestions on how I may improve myself?’

Methodically evaluate the responses. . .
Create a list of all of the adjectives used in the emails and divide them into ‘positive’ and ‘negative.’ Look for duplicates (the more duplicates, the stronger the brand).
What are your strong points?
What are your weak points (flaws)?

What offends people? Your performance, attitude, anger, language, dress, methodology, your treatment of others, your reaction under pressure, your unwillingness to change?

Can you change your personal brand?

Reprinted from ASSET 2.0, the Investment Recovery Business Journal, Vol. 3, 2008

© The Investment Recovery Association