Do You Know Your Professional Brand? How Your Brand Influences Your Success

By Charles J. Curto, Managing Principal of Tech Coast Equity Group

At a meeting of the Technology Council’s Entrepreneur Society, Susan Howington, CEO of the outplacement firm Power Connections, presented Do You Know Your Professional Brand?  How Your Brand Influences Your Success.  Below are key take-aways from her presentation.

  • Susan defined your professional brand as the thoughtful and carefully crafted message and image devised to create an image, a reputation and legacy for yourself and that you are committed to support everyday by the way you talk, work, look and live.

  • The four keys to developing your unique brand are

    • Brand pillars—the essence of your brand, including your value proposition, skills, business acumen and leadership

    • Brand personality—how you describe your character, attitude and persona

    • Brand voice—how you communicate your brand with words

    • Brand style—how you present yourself visually, especially your appearance, dress and design sensibility

  • The components of your brand pillars breakdown as follows:

    • Your value proposition–how you impact an organization to drive success and contribute immediate and continuing market relevance as well as enhance  organization value

    • Your skills—hard skills, soft skills and communications skills

    • Your business acumen—internalized awareness of industry benchmarks and passion for innovation.

    • Your leadership—how you identify, nurture and incentivize individual contributors and teams as well as customers and value chain contributors to reach the organization’s goals

  • Susan enumerated brand message boosters based on her work with hundreds of high-performing entrepreneurs, executives and professionals.

    • Make your message all about them by focusing on how you fix their problem, add to their bottom line, give them security, make them happy, give them peace of mind, etc.  

    • Build Your Credibility by being authentic.

    • Show contrast.  Effective advertising shows the before and after pictures.

    • Emotion is paramount.  Know what your audience feels about the topic.

    • Communication styles matter.  Choose the communication channel that is listened to by your audience for your message.  

    • Stories are powerful ways to communicate your message.  Tell good stories and tell them well.

    • Less is more.  If it doesn’t add to the impact, cut it!  DON’T TALK TOO MUCH!

  • She also pointed out that based on research done at UCLA, our message is communicated primarily through our body language and voice, at 55% and 38% respectively, with only 7% coming from the words themselves.  It’s not that words are unimportant, but that we should give appropriate emphasis to delivery to assure that the meaning and impact of the message behind our words are fully communicated.

Susan offered each attendee at the presentation a complementary Branding Boot Camp.  This is yet another benefit of attending Technology Council events.

This summary is not meant to be a transcript of the session nor a comprehensive primmer on developing your brand.  Instead, its intent is briefly to share a few of the valuable take-aways from the session, take-aways which are based on the experience of successful entrepreneurs and professionals who work with entrepreneurs.  Hopefully, these will encourage you to attend future Council programs where you can meet and learn from the experience and wisdom of other thought-leaders.



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