Self-Marketing Strategies and Personal Branding for Executives
Part 5: This article follows on from our series on personal branding by considering other self-marketing strategies that could influence personal brand image and awareness. These are often referred to as emotional intelligence factors by learning from the behaviours of others and developing core strategies in terms of engaging and interacting with people in general or professional colleagues. We will discuss some of these elements in turn.
Effective Networking Strategies
Networking is usually synonymous with executives building relationships and industry contacts, but essentially anyone can network effectively as long as people are clear about what they are trying to achieve by networking. The idea is to present a really positive image and persona to a target audience, whilst keeping in mind the overall purpose of the networking engagement – it may involve presenting a business idea, giving a technical sales pitch, developing industry contacts, participating at a conference or selling oneself to a prospective employer.
For instance, it is not appropriate to discuss possible employment opportunities with a key contact when trying to win their business or glean industry expertise. If going to a specific networking event for job seekers, then expectations are that people would naturally enquire about possible job opportunities, talk about work achievements and potentially build contacts (career networks) going forward. Be careful and see what is appropriate for the target audience. The other thing, is always take a business card to give to contacts in case of follow-ups. Also, having an effective online presence using LinkedIn is becoming an ever important requirement these days to create networking opportunities and build contacts.
Positive Attitudes Stand Out
A positive approach can be inspiring, infectious and energising, therefore becoming an important element for personal branding. Moreover, it can make people far more engaging and receptive when meeting each other. Psychologically, a positive attitude places people on the ‘front foot’, so standing out in front of management, generally being more approachable and ready to take advantage of any opportunities that may present themselves further down the line.
Even if not liking a particular manager or fellow board executive stay focused, remain diplomatic and always proactively engage when it is appropriate. Being calm, consistent and measured in a difficult situation ensures that battles only need to be fought when necessary. Volatility in a challenging environment may make people stand out for the wrong reasons, could highlight a lack of control and reinforces negative perceptions going forward (i.e. negative perceptions take longer to overcome and turnaround).
Keeping a Documented Career Record
Knowing what you have achieved, keeping an accurate record of career development (CPD), periodically updating your CV and leveraging contacts via LinkedIn will help candidates to understand what they have done, what they can offer and proactively take advantage of opportunities that arise. Knowing achievements, strengths, weaknesses and limitations often helps people to be more assured in certain situations, plus being able to sell themselves effectively when required.
Selling Oneself to Peer Groups
The ability to sell oneself, convince others and remain proactive creates a really positive impression that makes people stand out from the crowd. It is often the most focused and motivated people that achieve most in their careers. Moreover, people who have really worked on their own personal brand image and self-awareness very naturally raise personal brand profile amongst peer groups.
Self-Marketing Strategies – Conclusion
We have covered off many of the required elements of personal branding. Overall, there are several ways of developing a strong personal image that helps make people stand out and differentiate themselves from the competition. Consistency, positive reinforcement and choosing the appropriate behaviours towards target audiences are key elements for building a favourable personal brand image. Also, modifying behaviours can yield some quick results, but it can take time to see tangible outcomes in terms of career development or progression on the Executive Board for example.