Personal Branding

Posted on September 9, 2013 More Young Professional Resources

Setting Yourself Apart From Others                     

You may overlook the Nike swoosh or the McDonalds’ golden arches, but their brand significance has worldwide recognition; in fact, a “brand” is what makes their shoes and burgers different from others who offer the same kinds of products.

Just as companies want to find a way to make an impact, we do, too. If you want to find a way to stand apart from others in your firm or company, you must develop your own brand.

Personal branding starts with discovering what separates you from the competition. Just like McDonalds is known for quick service, and the quality and taste of its food, you must dig deep to find the personal attributes and ideas that add value to yourself and your company. You must then use these qualities to make your brand unique and memorable.

Trust. Clients, employees and colleagues will want to do business with you if they believe you will serve them best. If they depend on you, your value to your company just skyrocketed a thousand percent.

Confidence. High self esteem is always better than the alternative. While rejection is never fun, you must look at any obstacle as a means to continuous improvement. There is never a limit on the opportunities in life, and sometimes, you have to look outside the norm to see them. Balance your drive to keep learning and having an open mind, yet stay away from the idea of “competing” because you don’t want to seem overly aggressive. You must believe in yourself before anyone else will believe in you.

Attentive. Pay attention to what others observe about you. Part of determining if your brand is successful depends on how others view your personality and actions. You must demonstrate that you are dedicated to serving your firm or company in the best way possible. The choices and decisions you make are seen under a microscope, so be choosy and be specific.

Stick to your niche. It’s also a good idea to become involved by joining a group of people to network with and establish a good rapport. In addition, volunteering for leadership roles will not only boost your confidence, but also get the attention and respect of your peers. Be sure to regularly read Leadership articles in each issue of The Edge. And, while these qualities are essential, there are certain things you want to avoid. Refer to these 30 personal branding mistakes.

Over-reliance on past achievements. Dwelling on your past successes is not a good route to take; instead, you want to build on them. Enhancing your personal brand is all about the change you make going forward, not what you achieved in the past.

Practice what you preach. If you can’t show that you are sticking to your principles and beliefs, there will be a lack of trust with your brand. Essentially, it becomes unauthentic. Moreover, making promises you can’t keep leads to dishonesty, and hurts your business and brand.

Poor network management. While it may seem like a nice thing to do, you must be careful not to devote too much time to building relationships with people who won’t bring you business. Remember, this is about you. Allocate more time to those who will be more likely to generate success for your firm or company, and less with those who are just friends; that can come after business hours.

Choosing the wrong brand niche. There are personal and professional opportunities you shouldn’t accept or pursue because they aren’t good for your brand and not a good fit for you. Find the ones that make the most sense, and these will be the ones people will remember.

Personal branding is all about setting yourself apart from others. While there are many other qualities you must convey and mistakes you must avoid, personal branding is all about sticking to your strengths, and working on your image and reputation. It may seem like a challenge and even somewhat painful to work on your personal attributes. However, your hard work and dedication to your personal brand will be a plus.

Source:  AICPA Young CPA Network

View All Young Professional Resources