Building a personal brand is not that much different from building or marketing a commercial brand. There are specific steps to take, each driven by a particular goal or objective. The difference is, while you can create a commercial brand from nothing, a personal brand must be deeply rooted in who you are. Otherwise, at best, you’ll be seen as inauthentic, and at worst, you’ll fail to meet your goals altogether.

Luckily, in defining your brand, you’ve already done a lot of the heavy lifting. Now it’s time to lay out the steps you’ll need to take to build out each of your traits. If it helps you to visualize your goals, consider creating a personal brand matrix by creating a chart with rows for each trait (My Trait) and columns indicating the strengths you’re already applying to those traits (Strengths I’ve Mastered); strengths you have but need to nurture (Strengths I’m Nurturing); those you need to develop entirely (Strengths I Need to Develop); and personal or professional opportunities to apply, nurture, or develop those strengths (Opportunities to Apply or Develop).

Here’s where your mentor can help—first, as a gut check that the brand you’re trying to build is in sync with who you are as a person and a professional, and second, by helping identify opportunities to apply your strengths and build those traits in the workplace. Start with a results-oriented approach, by which I mean working with your mentor to describe the results you need to achieve in order to demonstrate ownership of each of your traits.

The low-hanging fruit here is, of course, the quantifiable stuff: sales quotas, revenue goals, or budget savings. But even if your role is not tied to dollars and cents, you can still set results-oriented goals that will help you strengthen your personal brand.

In the preceding example, you’ve identified strategic thinking and problem solving as two goals. You might want to look for organization-wide issues that require proactive thinking and participation from multiple departments. Next, work with your manager to put together an action plan that includes leadership of an interdepartmental committee charged with finding a solution. Be diligent and organized; document each meeting, the solutions offered, and follow-up items. Note your own participation, but be sure to give credit to others as well.

This is just one example. All the steps don’t have to be that big. Work with your mentor to identify other ways you can more closely align yourself with the brand trait you’ve established. It may be a matter of changing small behaviors, such as:

Arriving to work early or on time every day

Creating efficiencies to streamline processes

Meeting deadlines every time

Highlighting colleagues’ achievements

Dressing more professionally

By linking concrete workplace objectives to each trait, you can create six-month, one-year, and even multiyear plans for personal brand building. Remember to document each milestone achieved and be sure to raise these examples to your manager at your reviews; the more managerial buy-in you can get now, the easier each subsequent step will be.

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