Want to build or polish your personal brand and increase your visibility? Let us show you how.

You are your own brandWhen I (Debi Prickette) joined Emerson (we were called Fisher Controls at the time), one of my first managers gave me a piece of advice.  He said, “As an engineer, all you have is your reputation.”  What he meant was that my actions and words needed to be consistent with my values and beliefs.  My position was important, people were going to follow my lead and my advice and I was responsible for the outcomes.  Mistakes were bound to happen, but honesty and quick remediation should be my course for correction.  Over time, my reputation spread and I was known for being a good engineer – which means being a problem solver, detail oriented, thoughtful, with having good communication skills.  I was also a good leader and I enjoyed leading and mentoring teams.  I wasn’t a big self-promoter, but it wasn’t as necessary because the group wasn’t that big.  My reputation has always been important; in today’s terms, my reputation is my “personal brand.”

The journey I’ve recently started is to learn ways to tell my story, in terms that are honest but not boastful. At first, I treated this as a hobby.  I wanted to read what thought leaders were saying on the subject; there are plenty of people writing blogs and articles on personal branding - it’s a pretty hot topic.  As I found interesting advice, I’d add it to my personal journal (btw, the idea to keep a journal was one of the first pieces of advice I read that resonated with me.)  Eventually, I had a lot of ideas and began organizing them in the Personal Branding Workbook you will find attached to this post.  I decided to share this workbook with Emerson’s Women in STEM members because completing these exercises has helped me begin to build my brand.   And like any project, it gets better with thoughtful input from your team.  Rachelle and Nikki provided great feedback and additional ideas and together, we put the finishing touches on the workbook this July.  We hope it inspires you to take action to work on your brand. 

I (Nikki Bishop) suppose branding has always been a part of me.  From the time I was a little girl, I can remember my mom telling me that your reputation is everything and you should “treat it like a very specialBrand quote Bezos
treasure”.
 While I didn’t fully understand how important her advice was at the time (and there were many arguments about who I was or was not allowed to hang out with, what I could or could not wear, what I could or could not do, etc.), I now realize just what an impact her advice has had on me.  But “branding” is more than reputation – it’s about how you make others feel when they are around you.  Some will argue that you shouldn’t worry about what others think about you. While I agree that you shouldn’t let the opinions of others rule your behavior, the reality is that we live and work with other people and how we make them feel does matter.  I want people to want to work with me and I want to create a positive energy around me.  Branding gives you the opportunity to define your behavior and goals around what you are most passionate about.  Why wouldn’t you want to focus on that?  Personal branding doesn’t start in your professional life, it starts in childhood.  I had the great fortune to learn that fact very early and now have the opportunity to instill these same values in my children and set an example for them.

I (Rachelle McWright) first attended a personal branding workshop in 2008.  The instructor was well known in Austin as a social media consultant and as a creative consultant at the time, I wanted to know more about this crazy “new world” of media as it applied to marketing  As with the webinar we have shared in this blog post, this workshop was hands-on. It began with these two words, “Google yourself.”  A wee bit of an extrovert, I thought for sure that as with my personal reputation or “brand”, my professional brand would proceed me and save me from having to craft something for the interwebs.  I was wrong.  Aside from a few things loosely tied to my first job in advertising and an award I won for a student video in college, my brand more closely resembled that of a struggling musician or SXSW roadie.  

Your BrandThus, as with Debi, I embarked upon the essential journey of building my personal brand. I crafted my story, defined the skills I wanted to be known for and set about publishing a blog that featured accounts of projects where I exhibited these skills.  I wove in humor, tales of vegetarian cooking and my experiences learning about the great city of Austin and new technologies such as social media. It worked.  My first client in social media, a farm-to-table food delivery service, found my blog in a Google search and hired me to build their social media brand.  Equally as important as the steps I took to define and build my brand, were the persistent actions I took afterward to ensure that my current brand rose to the top in search results.

Today, as well as managing the Emerson Exchange 365 community, I coach Emerson’s subject matter experts on how to use social media to build their own brands and become findable for their expertise.  I’m thrilled to be able to share a short but actionable version of that training with you.  The 60-minute workshop we’ve included with this post includes thought-provoking, discovery exercises from the Personal Branding Workbook, hands-on digital branding activities and real world professional branding advice that you can put into practice today.  Together, these lessons and tips will help you define, build and promote your brand.

This workshop was resently presented to Emerson Women in STEM members accross the globe. To get the most from the workshop, we suggest you spend at least 30 minutes completing the items below. You'll utilize these to build your elevator pitch and work through your social media profiles; pausing the video to do so will also be important.

In the Personal Branding Workbook:

  1. Complete the Identify section on pages 3-6.
  2. Complete the Develop Your Skills Inventory section on page 7. 
  3. In the Notes section of the workbook, begin putting together a draft of text that you will use to complete your social media profiles: copy & paste the info from your skills inventory and include any professional projects or personal accomplishments you think will help you build your unique brand.

Online and on your Desktop:

1. Using your full name, register for LinkedIn. If you are in the process automation industry, also register for Emerson Exchange 365 and join the groups in your area of expertise. Log in to LinkedIn prior to the training and have it open in a separate       window than the webinar.
2. Have a professional photo available to upload to your social profiles (the focus should be on your face, no one else should be on the photo).

Enjoy your personal branding journey and do revisit the workbook in the future for additional activities to help you keep your story fresh and nurture your brand. We welcome your feedback and the opportunity to learn from others. Please share your own personal branding tips in the comments or feel free to start a discussion in the Women in STEM group forum.

Personal Branding Workbook_ext_2nd ed.pdf