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Developing Your Personal Brand and Professional Image

Written by MO.com Subject Matter Resource, Dr. Madeline Ann Lewis

Large multinational corporations spend a staggering amount of money every year in attempt to brand their products effectively. Sometimes these efforts go extremely well, for example, the branding campaigns of Coca-Cola. Occasionally, they do not go so well, such as New Coke. Yet, it is important to keep in mind that branding isn’t just for gigantic multi-national corporations. The bottom line that whether you realize it or not, you are making decisions about the most important brand in your life, you!

If you do not take steps to brand yourself and your image, then you are making the decision to do nothing. Your brand or image is how other people perceive you and think about you. This can be extraordinarily important in a variety of different ways. After all, most of the time perception is everything.

Making a great impression in business is quite often the difference between landing a new contract and/or landing that new job you really want. Making that impression usually comes down to proper and effective branding.

So where do you begin? First, it is critical to understand that you have a great deal of control over how others will ultimately perceive you. How you present or “brand” yourself is largely at your discretion. You may not be able to control every aspect of every single person’s perception of you. However, you can certainly do a lot to cultivate your image just as Coca-Cola and other large companies effectively do.

You need to give thought to how you wish to be perceived. Next you need to consider what is the right branding for your given career path and for your particular environment. Clearly, someone looking to become the lead singer in a band will want to brand a little differently than someone looking to become an investment banker!

Your brand isn’t a badge that you wear around to help people identify you- that would be a costume. Instead, a brand should be what makes you unique, different and a desirable commodity. Do this to perfection and the brand that you create will be a customized one that is right for you and no one else. This will, in turn, become a powerful tool for the promotion of you and your skills in the business world and beyond.

Dr. Madeline Ann Lewis is the President/CEO of the Executive Women’s Success Institute (www.exwsi.com) in Maryland. She is a career strategist, speaker, trainer, consultant and the author of Finding Your Best Inside: How to Become the Person You Are Meant to Be and Playing from the Blue Tee: Women in the Federal Government. Reach her at 301-693-3284 or by e-mail at info@executivewomenssuccessinstitute.com.


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