Personal Branding: Make a Contribution

Photo: 'Today I will bring VALUE to the world' by Kimberley Kling CC-BY-SA 2.0

Photo: ‘Today I will bring VALUE to the world’ by Kimberley Kling CC-BY-SA 2.0

To prepare this discussion topic I have been doing a lot of reading about personal branding. There are some good articles out there and also some awful ones and a whole bunch in between. Many offer useful tips but others take a very shallow approach focussed on self-promotion at almost any cost. These kinds of articles don’t ring true to me. Partly because it just isn’t my style, but also because I don’t feel that pure promotion sits very well with libraries. Libraries are build on a premise of helping people, and I can’t help but feel that building you brand around contributing value to your colleagues or your profession has more relevance to what we do.

So I was relieved to read this recent piece on Forbes online by William Arruda (who writes about personal branding his byline helpfully tells me) stating that personal branding is not about you:

At the end of my keynotes, audience members tell me the most surprising thing they learned about personal branding is that it’s not about them at all – it’s about delivering value to others.

Sure, personal branding requires being visible to decision makers and influencers. Strong brands don’t go into hiding. But being visible is only part of the personal branding equation, and it’s not the biggest part. Demonstrating your value is the key.

Obviously, you don’t want to be the world’s best kept secret – you need to make sure others know who you are and what you have to offer. But the emphasis needs to be on their needs, not yours. Do they continually experience the value you provide? Do they associate that value with you?


The article goes on to give a useful list of things to think about:

Did I:

  • leave my mark on every meeting (in person and via teleconference) I attended – making contributions to the discussion to add value?

  • do something to make my manager more successful?

  • acknowledge the great work of employees, teammates or colleagues – reaching out to thank them in person or virtually?

  • create and publish content (a blog, video, article, whitepaper, infographic, etc.), disseminating information that will be useful to people who share my expertise?

  • publicly praise others for their contributions (especially in front of their managers)?

  • integrate my superpowers – the things I do better than anyone else – into everything I did?

  • share content created by others (articles, Blogs, YouTube videos, etc.) that is valuable to members of my network (adding my point-of-view to the content I shared)?

  • reach out to at least three members of my network with the goal of nurturing those relationships?

  • deliver on my brand promise consistently?

  • make a list of my accomplishments and plans for the coming day or week?

You can check out the full article over at Forbes.

What do you think? How important is bringing value to the world to you?

Posted in Discussion topics, Round 2015B and tagged , , .

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