Building a personal brand is essential for professionals in all careers. You just need to look at the importance of social media in business, particularly LinkedIn – your profile on LinkedIn is a key part of your personal brand.
How much effort do you put into moulding your personal brand, however? Do you regard it as a key focus or priority?
For many professionals who are involved in the supply chain, personal branding is not as high a priority as it should be. Instead, they focus on gaining new experience, building contacts in the industry, and improving their skills.
All those things are part of your personal brand, but they are different from building your personal brand. Doing that requires a very specific focus.
What Is Your Personal Brand?
Before going into detail on how to build a personal brand, it’s important to define what your personal brand is.
Similar to a company brand, your personal brand is your public image or persona. The public element is important as your personal brand should extend beyond the company you work for. As a senior supply chain professional, your personal brand should be visible in the wider industry.
In terms of your image or persona, this has several elements:
- Your values and beliefs, particularly in relation to the aspects of the supply chain you are directly involved in
- Your professional and personal goals
- The experience you have in the industry
- Your professional achievements
- Your sense of purpose working as a supply chain professional
Why Is Personal Branding Important?
Other senior executives in the supply chain will have an impression or opinion about who you are. They will form these impressions or opinions in a number of different ways.
This even applies to people who don’t know you – when your paths do cross, they will form an impression about the type of person you are.
The problem with the above is you have very little control over the impressions or opinions that people have of you. They could develop an opinion, for example, based on a misunderstanding, a fleeting interaction, or an observation by a third-party with an axe to grind. That opinion could be completely wrong.
When you have a carefully developed personal brand, you have more control over how you are perceived in the industry. In other words, other supply chain professionals will know who you really are.
How to Build Your Personal Brand
The first step to building your personal brand is to believe you have one, as everyone can. You don’t need to be in a commercial management role, and you don’t need to be a business owner. Whatever position you hold, you can create, develop, and improve your personal brand.
The most effective ways to build your personal brand include:
- Crafting your image online – the starting point for this is to create a personal website/blog where you describe who you are and share regular blogs, articles, and/or videos. You should also optimise your social media profiles, ensuring they all portray you in the right way. When doing this, carefully consider the type of content you will share online, particularly on social media. You might decide, for example, to avoid posting photos of your family or thoughts on politics.
- Get involved in conversations online – you should also get involved in groups and discussions online. Don’t do this to promote your business or to get new leads. Instead, contribute your knowledge and opinion to help people get a better understanding of who you are.
- Build relationships with other key people in your industry
- Create content for third-party publications – as well as creating articles and blogs for your own website, you should also create content for industry publications and business websites.
- Build your online audience
- Network in-person – finally, give talks, take part in, and attend, business events, and engage in other activities such as supporting local schools, or getting involved with clubs or charities, that will help you to grow your personal network.
Tips for Building Your Personal Brand
- Let your personality show
- Be yourself
- Remember authenticity is important
- Highlight your strengths and embrace your weaknesses
You’re not a machine – the more human you can make your personal brand, the better.
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