Aurélie Jean of PATRONNÈ MAGAZINE poses our member questions to Personal Branding Expert Dorie Clark.
Dorie Clark is CEO of Clark Strategic Communications and adjunct professor at Duke University Fuqua School of Business. She is recognized as a branding expert by the Associated Press, Fortune, and Inc., and author of Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future and Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It.
Professionally, we strive everyday to give a lasting impression of our better self – working on our attitude, personality or outfit. Still, how many of us perceive working on our professional image as self-advertising? For decades, marketing teams have implemented successful strategies to develop world-renowned brands. Can we use these strategies to our advantage? This paradigm shift has been spearheaded by our Expert, the widely recognized personal branding expert Dorie Clark.
Jean: Dorie, could you first introduce to our members what the term ‘personal branding’ means and why it is important?
Clark: Your personal brand is really just a synonym for your reputation. In other words, what do people say about you when you leave the room? Ultimately, your reputation is your calling card, and if it doesn’t reflect how you’d wish to be seen in the world, that is likely to cause problems. It’s important to take control of your personal brand so that others will be able to recognize your true talents.
Member Question: Is there a “best” time in my career to develop my brand and does it need to evolve along my career?
Clark: Think about your personal brand the way you’d think of your health. It’s far better and easier to do a little bit every day, over time, rather than “crash dieting” and trying to accomplish everything at once (which rarely works, anyway). Because your brand is the collection of impressions that people have developed about you over time, it’s useful to start a regimen early in your career of creating interesting content and sharing it, whether it’s blogging once a week or crafting a well-curated Twitter feed. Those small things, which may take only an hour or two per week, will ensure others are thinking about you in the right way (“she really knows a lot about marketing”), rather than forming a more haphazard impression.
Member Question: In my experience women tend not to know how to “sell” their brands. I would like some pointers about how to start to define and then present my brand in-person and on-line.
Clark: In my book Reinventing You, I discuss a three-step process for sharing your brand with the world. First, it’s important to understand what your brand currently is (you can get a clearer sense by obtaining feedback from trusted friends and advisers). Second, you’ll want to create a future vision for yourself about how you’d like to be perceived, and map out how to get from here to there (it may involve gaining new skills, taking courses, or curtailing some bad habits).
And finally, it’s about living out your brand, online and off. That involves things like sharing your expertise publicly, whether on social media or through speaking, and doing things like taking on leadership roles in professional organizations, so that others in your field will come to see you as a leader.