Everyone has a personal brand, whether they take ownership of it or not. After all, the personal brand is the perception that others have about us. Or, as Jeff Bezos once put it, “your brand is whatever people say about you when you are not in the room”.
Managing your brand and carefully choosing what other people’s perceptions will be is what we call ‘personal branding’ in the world of marketing and business.
More and more, this personal branding concept has become a concern for academics as more institutions want to align their personnel with their mission, vision and value statements. It’s important to know that all academics already have a personal brand. Their brand has been constructed by the opinions and ideas of who they are as a person and what their work speaks about them to those around them, their mentors, colleagues, students, faculty members, etc.
Being intentional and providing value in crafting this personal brand can be a huge step into a successful academic career. But how can you manage your personal brand?
Figure out what your brand is
The first step into personal branding is understanding what your personal brand is. Although having an updated curriculum vitae and knowing what you have done in your career can give you a great idea of your brand, you will need to dig a little deeper. Doing a bit of personal development work and identifying your mission, vision and values will help you understand your brand better.
But as marketers understand, the brand is not just what you wish to do and how you wish people see you, but how they actually see you. Engaging with those around you, seeing how they already see you and what they think your career goals are, is a great way to understand how your existing brand is being taken.
Once you see who you are and what you want to become, and how those around you see you and the feedback they provide, you adjust accordingly so that the views from the outside better match your internal thoughts.
Finding where you fit
Once you have found your personal brand, you need to find where you fit best. For this, it’s crucial to align your passions and your strengths with your institution’s needs.
Finding that middle point in the Venn diagram will be the sweet spot for your personal development and branding to match and help you succeed in your career.