By Anel Martin
“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room” – Jeff Bezos. I have to thank Jeff, as I have not found a better way to explain personal brands in all the years I have been exploring the subject.
There are a few things we need to understand (from my point of view and experience) when it comes to brand:
- Your brand already exists (whether you know it or not)
- Your brand has value attached to it (actual financial and opportunity based benefits)
- A successful brand is not created by faking it
- The strongest brand is not the one that is sold the most aggressively
- Your brand is not your appearance (although it may influence your brand and how you are perceived)
- A powerful brand relies on confidence (not to be confused with arrogance)
So how do we authentically enhance our brand value?
B –Build skill sets
The working world has changed so much in the last few years and will continue to do so. In fact, the prediction is that in 5 years’ time, only 15% of what you know right now will still be relevant. So, continuous development is not a “nice to have” but a survival strategy. Development no longer has to cost money; there are tons of free resources available. It will now require time, discipline and commitment.
We also need to be aware that in the future there will be more focus on what we called “soft skills” a few years ago (as it will be assumed that you already have the technical ability) (See WEF Top 10 Skills for 2020 ) so take that into account when planning your development.
We have also just entered the Connection Economy (check out Seth Godin’s video for more information about this) which will bring radical shifts in the way we work and connect with others. Creating new skills sets and being able to apply them with generosity and enthusiasm will definitely give you the edge.
R – Reputation management
When we look at reputation management we need to think about how we communicate (in the real world and online), the standard of work we consistently produce, our ethics, how organized and punctual we are and most importantly OUR attitude.
It is not what you do on the days you feel good that determines your reputation; it is what you do daily. The small activities, words and actions accumulate to form the picture. The old saying goes “Hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard”
These are major factors that influence not only our own brands but also the co-brand that we have with our manager/s, but that is a blog for another day.
A – Authenticity
No one likes a fake; it is true no matter where you go in the world. A truly amazing brand cannot be a projection, imitation or a mirage. It is ok to talk a good game but you MUST be able to back it up with consistent action. Find your own voice, your own unique talents and contributions and bring them into your work. Don’t be a copy. People pay good money for originals, not cheap knock-offs.
In our roles “who you know” is extremely important. Having a strong, reliable network helps you solve problems, find opportunities, grow relationships and organically enhances your brand (IF YOU ARE ADDING VALUE TO YOUR NETWORK).
Networking should be done online (there is a very dynamic, active and diverse group of assistants online from across the globe and it is easy to plug into these groups via LinkedIn or Facebook) but importantly, networking should also be done in the real world. Take time to attend events, speak to people you have not met before in the office (even just a friendly greeting will do) and take opportunities to grow your circle. Your network = your net worth, it doesn’t matter how great you are if no one knows about you. I am not encouraging you to brag but to be confident and to OWN IT!
D – Dependability
A brand is nothing if you are not consistent. Being phenomenal today and poor tomorrow doesn’t serve you, as you are not dependable and you are therefore eroding trust. If you can’t be a star every day then pick a level you are comfortable with and stay in that zone until you are ready to level up. This applies to work that you produce; commitments made and kept, communication, your personal appearance, and emotional intelligence.
If you are wondering how healthy your current brand is please feel free to do the FREE Brand Health Assessment at http://www.anelmartin.co.za/brand-health-assessment.html
Anel Martin is a former awarding winning administrative assistant from South Africa (now based in Dubai) who now works as a full-time trainer and Results Based Coach. Her goal is to help assistants to find their voices and their confidence. She is a published author and the book is titled “The Executive Secretary Guide to Building a powerful personal brand” https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1539535576/ visit her website for more free resources, information, and services www.anelmartin.co.za