Defining Your Personal Brand

By Robyn Undieme | September 24, 2015

As many of you probably know by now the MAAP Office holds a monthly book club meeting. This month our book selection isEnhancing Your Executive Edge written by Kim Zoller and Kerry Preston. I'm proud to say I've actually finished reading this book two weeks before our book club meets and that NEVER happens. I can now share a little insight with you that I gained from reading it and hopefully encourage you to join us next week as we discuss the book. Whether you have time to read it or not, please feel free to join us and let me know by Tuesday, Sept. 29.

There were a lot of valuable insights throughout the book, but the chapter that I connected with the most was on defining personal branding. In other words: How do I want people to know me? What message am I trying to send others about myself? Zoller and Preston define personal branding as "...how you differentiate yourself. It is the emotional response that others feel when your name is mentioned." (See page 112.) Yikes! If you're anything like me, you're mentally going through a list of people in your head guessing how you think they feel when your name is mentioned. If you're doing that right now, then definitely come and join us at next week's book club. Perhaps we can turn it into a support group - I'm kidding - but do join us!

I'm sure it's safe to say that some of you are very self-aware and deliberate about how you represent yourselves while others may not put a lot of thought about how others perceive them. For the sake of this blog, I'm going to just address our professional branding in which two items of advice stood out to me in the context of creating your professional brand.

First, you need to recognize and communicate the value that you bring to your department and second, your value should be different and help you stand out from others. At least that's the case if you're working toward a promotion.

So let's assume you want to present yourself as a leader in your department. How do you get the message across that you possess those attributes? There are obviously a number of ways: Dress professionally and appropriately, come prepared, be respectful, take initiative, be timely, deliver quality service or products, etc. What I found interesting that this book addresses is a lot of times we do those obvious things I just mentioned, but we have blinders on to what seems inconsequential but may cause people to perceive us in a different and often undesirable way. For example, the book highlights one real example of a guy named David, who apparently walked slowly through the hallways, causing people to perceive him as lazy. This was something seemingly miniscule and yet kept him from achieving a positive personal brand that he'd worked hard to achieve. David thought he would be known for the work he was producing, but instead he became known for his dawdling around the office.

So that's just a taste of what this book has to offer. Another topic in the book discusses office politics and how to stay out of it. That's another teaser for you. I hope you'll join me next Tuesday, September 29 from noon - 1 p.m. to discuss this book. Also, don't forget the MAAP Office is accepting applications for our MAAP Champions Class III - the deadline is Friday, October 2. If you have questions about the book club or MAAP Champions, feel free to email me at rundieme@cityoftulsa.org. Good luck on your personal branding and be sure to read Enhancing Your Executive Edge if you find this topic interesting.