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Six C’s to Supercharge Your Personal Brand

You already have a personal brand! You display it every day when you interact with other people. The question is how are you perceived and are you doing anything to control those perceptions?

Your personal brand is your authentic core….the part of you that people remember when you leave the room and the way they would describe you if you weren’t there to explain yourself. It’s much more than a gimmick and it’s important to find and enhance your personal brand before others “select” it for you.

Cultivating a personal brand has become a must in today’s corporate, business and online world!

But, if you don’t think that you are in a situation where personal branding matters, think again. Personal branding isn’t something that only matters to hopeful YouTube celebrities, people who want to be motivational speakers, politicians, or others seeking public renown. If you’ve ever Googled a potential date, boss, or client, what you have done is research their brand. Likewise, if you apply for a job, your potential employers are going to investigate your brand as well. As you know, from looking into the brands of others in order to vet them out, behavior on social media is a huge part of what forms a person’s brand.

So where do you stand right now? Try this: Do a search online of yourself (ensure you use the “incognito” option….this will prevent any personal settings and plugins from messing up your search results). You may need to add keywords about your line of work, etc. Then, try looking yourself up on your social media pages. What do your friends and followers see? What do people who do not follow you see? What are people saying about you? Are you happy with what you find?

Is there enough positive exposure? Is there negative information that runs counter to the persona that you want to put out there? Clean up is certainly part of the process, but not your primary focus.

At this point, you may still be unclear of why you should care about your brand, beyond dealing with any negatives. Good personal branding helps to establish the framework of your reputation as a person and as a professional. A good personal brand increases your name recognition, increases your reputation, gives you credibility, and establishes you as an expert in your niche.

But developing an idea for exactly what this good personal brand will be is only the first step. There are six key behaviours that you must enhance in order to effectively cultivate and maintain your personal brand. No matter how strong you believe your brand is, if you don’t pay attention to these six Cs on a regular basis, your entire brand could crumble. The six Cs are how you are going to be judged on a regular basis.

So what are the six Cs and how do they relate to your personal brand?

  1. Competence. Competence is your ability to get from Point A to Point B, your passion for results, your accountability in your work. Find areas where you feel you need to grow your competency and focusing on one for say a month. For example, maybe you struggle with Microsoft Excel. Rather than continue to let this weakness fester and erode your personal brand among coworkers, spend a month focusing on developing competence in this area. Focus on what you need to do to better yourself and maintain competence.
  2. Connection. There are many ways you can improve your communication and build on your relationships. For example if you’re a leader ensure you know each of your direct reports well. Connect with them authentically and purposefully.
  3. Courage. Focus on both the personal and professional areas in which you will benefit from a little courage. Focusing on enriching your courageous behavior can include tackling a difficult conversation you’ve been avoiding. It can also include making an effort to participate more in team meetings.
  4. Character. Character includes those small promises you make and keeping them. Every day we make small, seemingly innocuous promises that we tend not to keep: I’ll introduce you to that important executive, I’ll have the report on your desk by the end of the day, Let’s do lunch. I’ll call you back in 10 minutes. Doing this a few times with the people in your life is going to show that you can’t keep a promise. Another major component of character building is your commitment to honesty.
  5. Credibility. There are several areas in which we tend to lose credibility. For many, this erosion comes when we earn the reputation for distractedly checking our mobile phones during meetings. Be present and in the moment, whether it’s a group meeting or a one-on-one, give your full and undivided attention. Some senior leaders lose credibility when they get up and make a big presentation and everything’s great and they smile….and then they get off stage and they’re yelling in the next meeting.
  6. Consistency across all social media platforms. No matter where people find you on social media, they should be absolutely confident that they have found the correct person. This means that you should have the same user name, profile picture, themes, imagery, and profile information. When you do this, you not only improve the likelihood that you can be found on social media, you also increase the likelihood that people will remember you and recognize your name and face in the future.

In the end:

  • Your brand is a reflection of the way the rest of the world perceives you. If you want to have control over that on a personal or professional level, you must act proactively to establish your personal brand.
  • People will constantly judge your personal brand based on your commitment to the behaviours in the six Cs.
  • No matter how you choose to dedicate yourself to the behaviours in the six Cs, it’s vital that you develop a strategy to enhance your abilities in each of them periodically…and return to each of them over time. By being strategic about your aspirations for your personal brand, you will be better able to develop the behaviours in the six Cs to achieve your goals.
  • As to how to strategically incorporate the six Cs into your daily behaviour, try taking a month to dedicate yourself to each of the six Cs: maybe April is the month to focus on Competence while May is the month to rebuild and enhance your Connections.

So act now to find and/or enhance your personal brand before others select it for you.

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