Branding Notes

Personal Branding

About 15 years ago I had the opportunity to attend a “charm school” with the US Army called Personnel Management for Executives and while there, I hear an interesting presentation by a gentleman named Harvey Coleman. Mr. Coleman was/is an organization theorist (for lack of a better term) and he had studied organizations for most of his life to uncover what he called “the rulles of the game.”

Mr Coleman believed that organizations have rules and to prosper in an organization one had to know them. Two rules in the context of this branding conversation come to mind.

  1. To get ahead in any organization everyone needs a sponsor.
  2. To get noticed by a sponsor requires a person to do more than perform their duties.
  3. Sooner or later as careers progress, everyone is a performer.
  4. There are three components to how people evaluate you they are:  Performance, Image, and Exposure.

Mr. Coleman said the way you garner image and exposure is more important than performance because — as mentioned earlier — everyone is a performer. And that brings the conversation full circle back to branding.

I think branding is the next steps beyond professional competence. It is the desire to take a chance and shoulder responsibilities beyond the limits of your desk, job description, or day-to-day duties. Brands come not only from how you handle your job, but from how you handle environments and people.

Bill Parcells — the hall of fame football coach — says, “You are what your record says you are.” And that is an important part of the branding. Does a person seek out special projects, additional responsibilities that make one stretch?  Or does one show up every morning punch the clock and go home with no thought to the bigger world?

We brand ourselves everyday. There is nothing new in it, but we can do much more harm or good to ourselves than we ever could before. Social media provides us a place where we can blow our own horn, but if we are not careful it can be a badly played tune.


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