Your personal brand both precedes and follows you. Are you satisfied that your brand tells the story you want others to know? Megan Walls provides guidance of what you might consider when crafting your branding message.
I sat down last week with Megan Walls, a Chicago based, nationally known career coach and author to learn more about personal branding. We all have a personal brand, whether we know it or not. It just depends on whether we want to be intentional with our brand. If you have a business, a career, or volunteer within a community, a well-constructed brand can help you achieve economic goals, career goals or personal goals. Let’s dig in.
Leslie: Hi Megan! We have crossed paths many times over the past few decades! First during our iPEC coaching training, then through your participation in Mosaic Fi’s “Think Differently” event and now through our business networking. This is the first time we are diving into Personal Branding. Why is personal branding important?
Megan: Personal branding is important because it is a way for businesses and professionals to identify their products and services and differentiate themselves from the competition.
Leslie: Tell us what personal branding is and what it is not.
Megan: Personal branding is a marketing tool used to establish and promote a professional’s or a business’s value, their uniqueness, and their credibility with their target audience. The intention is that when a person sees or hears the brand, they immediately recognize it and know what it stands for. As Jeff Bezos once said, “it is what people say about you when you are not in the room”. It is not a mission statement or a job title.
Leslie: What is the best way to start to formulate a personal brand?
Megan: I recommend that people spend time reflecting on what sets them apart from their competition, peers, or colleagues within an organization. Write down what comes to mind. A way to gauge your brand is to ask for feedback from friends, colleagues and/or clients. To help clients build their brand, either through one-on-one sessions or in a group setting, I have created a three-step approach. This includes completing exercises and assessments that provide the building materials for a good personal branding statement.
Leslie: You coach professionals through career transitions. How can a personal brand help if one is interested in switching industries?
Megan: Through a personal brand statement a transitioning professional can highlight the skills that align specifically for an industry/role as well as how their values can match up with a new mission. A personal branding statement morphs as we grow and change in our roles, outlooks, and intentions. The world is not stagnant nor is our journey through it.
Leslie: What are other ways personal branding statements are helpful?
Megan: Many people, especially women, have imposter syndrome. Going through the branding exercise can be therapeutic. We review everything we just mentioned: values, expertise, skills, etc., and we also talk about their contributions and influence in the workplace, the problems that their efforts helped solve and the leadership they provided through tough times. This often helps dispel lingering feelings of inadequacy.
Leslie: You mentioned workshops earlier. Tell us about them.
Megan: I provide workshops for personal branding, both through group sessions and individual sessions. Please see my website Personal Branding — Walls Career Coaching for more information.
Leslie: Megan, thank you for sharing your expertise with us. We look forward to speaking with you again!
Megan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org