As you move up from the intern/staff stages to higher ranks, you will realize that all those who have made it to the top in the corporate ladder have a brand. Their brand is what they are ‘known’ for.
For example, someone is known for their ‘technical expertise’, while someone is known for their ‘marketing skills’, while other is a star when it comes to ‘people issues’.
Creating brand does not mean going out and shouting that you are ‘good’ at something. It is an amalgamation of various aspects (call them sub-brands) that give you the exposure. Let’s examine these components:
Einstein said “anybody can be a genius in his field if he only spends 15 minutes everyday studying it” [paraphrased]. Heed to his advice and start studying your field (or the field you want to be in) religiously. You will be surprised as to how many opportunities you come across in your life to showcase your knowledge. All it takes is for you to be prepared. You have to be unquestioned champion of something in your workspace. This is what you will be ‘known’ for. If you like, you can be ‘known’ for multiple things.
For example, my friend is known for his ‘microsoft excel skills’, he is also known for his ‘technology flare’, you can ask him just about any technology issue and he will have an answer or at least he will guide you to the right source. So whenever someone needs help with excel or help with choosing the right phone or laptop or console – they come running to him. Note that ‘excel’ is work related and ‘technology flare’ is both work and nonwork related. That is the key, you have to be ‘known’ for something that applies directly to your job. On top of it, if you are a champ of any other thing, it will nicely complement your position.
You may be a champion of 100 things and it won’t mean a thing if you continuously slack at deadlines. Being reliable is one of the inevitable qualities that you need to possess (or develop) if you want to thrive at workplace. If you commit to a deadline – make sure you meet it. If you don’t think that a particular deadline cannot be met – be upfront and voice your concerns so that the client is made aware of the expected delay and reasons. Fulfilling the commitments and saying ‘no’ when appropriate are the keys to building your reputation of being ‘reliable’.
If you are a champion at something and are reliable, you will be presented with opportunities. It matters a lot on how you show up to these meetings and client presentations. Make sure you have at least 2 or 3 nice full business suits or at least nice blazers so that you are prepared for any client meetings. If possible, keep one of your blazers in the office to use if called for a surprise meeting with executives or client.
You may be surprised to see ‘health’ in this article but a healthy mind needs a healthy body. If you look around you will notice that most of the upcoming stars in any organization exhibit lot of vibrancy and vitality. This is not an happenstance. They allocate part of their day focused on their physical needs like exercising, meditation, cleansing, whatever it takes to keep a healthy body. This in turn keeps their minds sharp. And undeniable benefit is the way they look in their business attire. This adds force to their presence.
No matter what you are doing you have to be confident about it. Confidence comes from knowledge and knowledge comes from studying your field, dressing well, being reliable and being healthy.
Note that each of these sub-brands are interlinked, for example, if you are awesome in your field that knowledge gives you confidence but if you don’t have dressing sense it will rob your confidence when you go to a client meeting. Same way, you may be a champion of your field but if you are not reliable in meeting deadlines you will not be trusted with additional responsibilities. You may be confident, dress well and know everything there is in your field but all of that matters to nothing if you end up sick at home on an important meeting day or show up coughing your guts out in a client place (of course, we are not referring to occasional flu/fever but unhealthy demeanor due to lack of care).
Become champion of something, be the go-to person for getting things done, take care of your bodies and exhibit confidence and these ingredients will in time create a brand for you.