In a recent conversation with a person I am mentoring, this question came up: "How do I build my personal brand and get my name out there so that I'm thought of when a potential promotion comes up?”
It was a great question and one I get quite a bit. Building a personal brand is done over time and certainly not the moment before you apply for a position. Like advertising in retail, you have to first determine who the target audience is and the message you want to get across.
I use what I refer to as a "Network Plan.” (See below.) It is a pretty simple tool and will work whether you are building a business case or building a personal brand.
Here's how it works:
1. Identify your stakeholders. Who are you trying to reach? Who is your target audience? The list can be as long as you want it to be.
2. Determine how supportive the stakeholders are. Rate them on a scale of 1 to 5, from least supporting (or, perhaps, they don’t know you yet) to 5 for very supportive.
3. Rate the stakeholders' influence. How can they influence your career or positions you may have interest in over time? Use the same 1-5 scale.
4. Consider what these people should know about your talents and ability to contribute.
5. Develop a plan on how to engage these people. How will you increase their awareness of what you want them to know about you and find opportunities to share your talent.
Each person’s plan will be different. Remember, you own your career, so don’t leave it to chance!
No brand will stand if it's not credible. The best way to build your brand is to do the best job you can where you are. Build your credibility by the work you do and then advertise yourself to increase your brand awareness.
A Sample Network Plan