Empowerment is key.
Many of us can reach a stage of stagnation in our careers. We can stumble through many crossroads or forks in the road that challenge us to stick with what we know, or twist for something different.
Equally, we can be in the perfect job, with an ideal role and maximum motivation but even in this apparent ideal state, it’s common to become dependent on the companies we work for.
Our value is dependent on how committed they are to training, or how invested they are in our futures. We feel a reliance to those we work for, a reliance on our employer — one that can grow heavy.
The difference with career trajectory in 2019 is that we have more power and control over our voice and progress than ever before; it’s just for many of us we’re channeling energy into one place only.
It’s the ultimate version of putting all your eggs into one basket.
The personal brand has never been more important. And by personal brand, that doesn’t mean flexing how many hired supercars and yachts you can squeeze into your Insta, it means pursuing a considered and strategic approach to empowering your voice, network, skillset and knowledge-set.
It’s about building tangible currency that you can draw from and lean upon throughout your chosen career, providing you with relevant credibility amongst not only your peers, but eventually your chosen industry.
This doesn’t mean you need to be struggling with your career to invest in your self, quite the opposite. It’s completely cyclical, invest in yourself and see the dividend in the workplace as those around you respect your opinion and value your insight as a beacon of knowledge.
Here’s how it breaks down.
You need to elevate your voice through ‘artefacts’. Not the physical type that Indian Jones searched for in temples. These artefacts are items or moments in time, golden nuggets of evidence that your abilities have transcended what is expected of you.
This can mean going above and beyond your rank and surprising people with the time available to you. Artefacts help you supersede your very position and provided you with a valuable reputation; one that you can control, build upon and determine.
Prof. Jonathan A.J. Wilson PhD is a master of collecting artefacts for his personal brand, and has hundreds of talks, papers and videos on how you can maximise the media landscape around to you, to build your own value from the ground up.
He has spoken at conferences across the globe on over 100 occasions, and published over 200 pieces of work.
For his doctorate Prof. Jon decided to investigate Global Branding, Management, and Consumer trends — exploring how brands influence cultures and cultures shape brands. Here, he drew from the work of Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Al Ghazali — all of which helped him to develop his own Branding model.
Prof. Jon is the master of the ABCDs: Advertising, Branding, Culture, and Digital. He’s a LinkedIn top voice and champions worthy causes like the challenges around opportunities for BAME marketeers. His voice is his brand and he takes it around the world.
Like Prof. Jon’s articles, videos and keynote speeches, these artefacts could be anything, it depends on what makes you, you. But whatever it is, it should be driven by your passion and elevate you into an area of expertise.
It could be vlogging, article writing, Medium-posting, a photography portfolio, a stand-up comedy routine, sporting achievements; whatever it is that drives you.
The next step is to document it.
And this content has to be out in the world, providing you with positive and informed credibility. It’s content that gives you a platform, a pedestal and crucially, exposure.
If you work in marketing, get yourself published in a famous journal, if you work for a tech company, get mention on a famous developer forum, if you teach students like Prof. Jon; inspire them by getting published by national newspapers and getting booked for awesome events.
Most importantly, this content that you document should position, project and convey the values and skills that you want to share with your industry, your niche or even just the whole world.
Personal branding should be treated no differently to commercial branding, and good personal branding, is no different to the traits of the most effective commercial brand building.
Think of Nike and the world famous swoosh. The emblem alone stands for and connotes such a rich and distinct impression, without them even saying a word.
Your personal branding should eventually carry the same gravitas — maybe not exactly the level of Nike — but the point is, it should represent the best version of you and at any touchpoint i.e. on your socials, your website or your book and they should all communicate the same core values and skill — leaving the reader with the same lasting impression.
A strong personal brand makes you less dependant on a single source of income, a single route of development and a single place of employment.
A strong personal brand, fuelled by artefacts, can elevate you amongst your peers, position you as a thought leader and pioneer you within your company and beyond.