This is a guest post by Gabe Lett, FSMPS, CPSM, LPC
A personal brand is the perception a person has of you. Rather than the overall perception of a company, a personal brand is specific to you as an employee of your company. The reason for the elevation of personal branding has to do with the digital capabilities of social media and the ease of building a personal business network that spans geographies. The better you establish your personal brand, the more opportunities you bring to your company.
What Ingredients Make a Personal Brand?
A brand is simply the total experience people have when interacting with a company. What people feel and experience when they interact with a product or service makes its brand. Therefore, a personal brand is made from:
- Interaction with you personally
- Experience of you personally
- The emotion elicited when interacting with you and experiencing you personally
Your interactions with others in your professional life are what create your personal brand. Interactions have a specific manner, energy, and frequency. The manner, energy, and frequency of your interactions contribute to what others experience.
As others interact with you, they take away an experience. That experience can range from inspiration to boredom, intimidation to warmth, energized to deflated. How others experience you elicits emotion.
How people feel is a major factor in the decisions they make and how they orient their life. When you interact with others you give them an experience, and that experience contributes to their emotions. Those emotions are then connected to you and your personal branding.
To know your personal brand requires you to understand how your interactions are experienced by others and how those experiences make them feel.
Why Is a Personal Brand Important?
Brands build on each other. Professional engineering has a brand. Civil engineering has a brand. Civil engineering firms have a brand. And each professional engineer has a personal brand. Therefore, your personal interactions give clients an experience. Those clients attribute how that experience makes them feel to you, your company, and your profession. As you can imagine, how you craft your personal branding not only affects you, but also affects your firm and the entire profession.
Realize that every engineer has a personal brand. Ignoring a personal brand does not make it disappear. It does not become irrelevant because you simply do not care. What clients experience and feel when working with you matters. It matters greatly! A personal brand is important for many reasons. Chief among those reasons is the contribution or deficit you create for your firm and your profession.
If you consider your personal branding and intentionally work on the impact you are making on your clients, your colleagues, and society, the greater personal benefit you will enjoy. Here are some questions upon which to reflect to help you establish a positive personal brand:
- Do others enjoy speaking with you and seek you out for advice and help?
- When you make a surprise visit to a client, are they annoyed or genuinely happy to see you?
- Have you worked on listening twice as much as you speak?
- Do you work hard at optimism when engineering solutions?
- Are you genuinely interested in your client’s organization and its success?
The answers to these questions are only the beginning of focusing on your personal brand. The entire journey of your career either improves or deteriorates your personal brand. Continue asking yourself these questions. Gauge how your clients and colleagues are receiving you. May your clients’ experience of you create a positive personal brand.
About the Author Gabe Lett, FSMPS, CPSM, LPC
Gabe is a people person. Making friends and connecting with people for mutual benefit is what he loves. Being with people and learning about them energizes him. He uses marketing and business development to benefit his employer, his professional network, and his friends. Gabe has served three civil engineering firms, utilizing these traits in people skills to help build the business. He brings several key benefits to employers, clients, and his network. Gabe is a self-starter and likes to initiate new thinking about solving problems. He also loves working in teams and encouraging others to be their best.
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share on your personal brand and why it is important..
Please leave your comments, feedback, or questions in the section below.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success