Effective Professional Branding – The Transition From What You Know to Who You Are


“Building professional branding which communicates that you are x with y years of experience in industry Z and that you know to do A,B,C.D and have knowledge in E ,F , G is boring and won’t bring you career and business success”.

Building professional branding is essential for one’s career and business success. Tom Peters talked about professional branding almost ten years ago. However, economic changes, globalization, new technologies, job market trends, and outsourcing have changed the meaning of the concept and it’s implementation. How can you brand yourself to be successful in the current markets? What changes do you have to make in order to establish effective professional branding which will demonstrate your career and business success?

The evolution of the professional branding concept.

Tom Peters wrote ” Big companies understand the importance of brands. Today in the age of the individual you have to be your own brand. You are the CEO of Me Inc. You have to be a brand like Nike, General Motors, Dell or Microsoft. Instead of being your job title or job description or your resume, you must be a professional brand. When you are a brand you are recognized for who you are”. Examples of people who are a brand are Michel Jordon , Tiger Woods & Oprah Winfrey and others. What are the components of professional branding?

A brand :

Communicates distinctive traits and qualities.

Is easy to remember & to be recognized.

Earns the respect and the trust of others.

Creates a value to your clients.

Builds a competitive advantage among others.

Influences others.

Branding transition from the marketing model to the experimental model .

The traditional concept of branding was based on marketing theories. It stated that companies need to communicate their image . One of the major strategies for branding was advertising . However, stronger competition, globalization and economic changes changed the rules for success. It’s not enough to have a good image, or to make a promise to the clients. Clients want to know that your company’s products create a real value for them compared to the competition. In order to win the competition for clients’ preferences you have to be innovative. Innovation in today’s market is the sole strategy for economic success. Hooly Lindman (Aug 2004) published an article with the title The Good Brand and she wrote: ‘brands are less and less about what we buy, and more and more about whom we are. A good brand is authentic. This means that companies need to demonstrate that they doing good and well. Consumers must sense that their actions are sincere and not only PR “. Ten years ago companies built their brand only on savvy advertising. This has changed and we can see companies such as Google and Amazon which have built a brand on client’s tangible experiences.

Professional branding has also shifted from a marketing model. It is more than an external image. It has to be authentic. In order to succeed in the current job market who you are is more important than what you know. What you know relates to your skills, knowledge, and career experiences. Who you are relates to your unique personal assets and how they can create a value to your company’s clients and enhance your company’s economic success. Professionals who would like to excel in their job and have career success need to be innovative (about products, processes, business models), flexible, have openness and a global mind, be passionate and adaptable, an out of the box thinker, thrive on chaos, and so on. These qualities relate to your authentic self. You have to be able to respond to complex, unpredictable and chaotic business environments. Holding onto what you know can prevent you from being open to new strategies and new knowledge which is essential for success in the current markets.

Building good professional branding & communicating it.

Professionals who are branded have to be :

An expert at something which creates a real value to clients.


A leader.

Cross culturally intelligent.

Business oriented.

Adaptable to fast changes.

Good professional branding has to be dynamic, authentic and innovative. It has to be dynamic because the business environment is changing fast. It has to be authentic ( your unique personal assets and soft skills ) because it will make a difference and contribute to the company’s success. It has to be innovative because this is how you can contribute something unique compared to other professionals.

The process of professional branding involves building the contents and communicating it to your business environment (such as: your boss, peers, clients etc.) You can build a new professional branding by reading (cross cultural knowledge, business, literature,), writing (articles, blogs), volunteering, working in another country, getting experiences in other industries, learning other languages, and networking with others etc.

Communicating your professional branding can be expressed in your job performance, in your job search, in a presentation, by speaking and in other ways. In one of my articles I wrote about purple cow self-marketing tools such as: self website, blog, presentation, video as an excellent strategy to communicate your professional branding. Purple cow self marketing tools communicate who you are compared to the regular self marketing tools which communicate what you know.

In the last few years we have witnessed the outsourcing of jobs from the U.S. and rapid technological changes which have made many jobs irrelevant. Companies can always save money and still find candidates who have the same skills and knowledge . However, now they require much more.

Companies need candidates who are building and developing a dynamic and authentic professional branding which is based on who they are. This authentic branding will demonstrate career and business success.

Source by Nava Shalev

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