Cody Szeto is director of the IT&T, engineering, supply chain and procurement divisions at Kelly Services Hong Kong.
How do I build my personal brand to take my career to the next level?
I’m in a senior position at my firm and am happy with my company and career. However, I would like to participate in more conferences and contribute to literature on my industry. I’d like to be known as an expert in my field and improve my public profile. I hear people talking about personal branding, but how do I go about developing my personal brand?
A brand is no more than a perception. Personal branding is how individuals market themselves using their strengths, beliefs, professional expertise and experience. With the help of social media, anyone can easily build their personal brand.
The 16-year-old Singaporean blogger, Amos Yee, uploaded controversial videos to YouTube and became known around the world almost overnight. Now when people talk about him, the image of a cheeky yet intelligent youth emerges – that’s his personal brand.
As you hold a senior position in your firm, your personal brand should project a positive professional image that reflects your company well. There are several things you may want to consider.
First, identify your professional strengths and area of expertise. There’s no point being a jack-of-all-trades. Pick an area you are passionate about and can contribute to. You need to be confident in your choice and its foreseeable development.
Network and expose yourself to professional organisations or social media. As you have limited time, you need to be selective and choose only a handful of channels to build your brand upon. Start from your industry committees, respected associations of your field, or even industry blogs and Facebook/LinkedIn groups.
Make sure you know your target audience. As you persistently offer insightful viewpoints or findings in a defined subject, you will make yourself an opinion leader. When opportunity hits, sign up as a speaker in related conferences or webinars, or you may even offer to write columns or professional literature. Also, expand your network to include media professionals. Ask your marketing department if they welcome your contribution to the added exposure of the company.
Brand building requires nurturing continuously for the rest of your professional life – a part of your daily routine. If you are not sure of the time you can commit to building your brand, start small and choose one or two areas you are continually exposed to.
It is important to review your brand strength annually. Conduct a brand audit and compare the state of your brand today to 12 months ago. Constantly review and improve your content and your reach strategy.
Given your contribution to the industry, with relevant findings geared towards your target audience, your brand and career will benefit.
This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as How do I develop a distinctive personal brand ?