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Topics: Career Development, Strategy, Talent Management
What is the importance of creating a "personal brand" in your practice?

Should creating a personal brand in your practice be a focus? If so, when should a PM start the branding process - is it truly a focused effort or just a byproduct of doing quality work? What is your brand and what is your opinion?
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George -

I think folks that put brand ahead of substance will likely enjoy their 15 minutes of fame and no more. If you behave in a manner which is worth modeling, that will define your brand.

While it is important for us to aspire to being viewed in a certain manner, that should be the side effect of quality work and not the goal unto itself.


"is it truly a focused effort or just a byproduct of doing quality work?"

This is an interesting question and while I don't have the answer this feels to me like the chicken and egg dilemma. If we look at some examples outside of PM we actually see both. Microsoft, Apple are examples of focused effort that paid off big time. MS for instance definitely did not have the best product at the time but they became that via their branding. But Facebook actually started out with no real focus on branding but rather on fulfilling a need (is that the same as quality work?) and their branding followed becoming huge.

I believe it should be the PM focus. It should be a byproduct of your quality work. However, you may need to do something more than managing the project to create your own brand.

I fully agree with Kiron’s perspective. Branding yourself should not be your focus but if you do things right, it will be an outcome of your work.

I like the direction of these answers above to this question that putting your brand ahead of the process can distort the message you are sending to your peers, and clients. I have too many times worked with folks that to look good they might not do the right thing, or may shy away from doing the right thing in order to ensure they don't look tarnished. In the end of it all if you are being the example, you in turn will set the example, and standards to be followed and that will be the brand you will want to represent.

I'm going to pretend to disagree with some of the above answers.

If you're doing quality work and your brand is 1) what differentiates you from your competition and 2) how you can add value to potential customers, it is both a focused effort and byproduct of your work. If George's consulting is no different from Kiron's consulting, why should I choose George over Kiron?

You can spend too much time (and money) building your brand platform - while a necessary evil, it can also be a distraction - but, you should always be building your skills, experience, and personality (your personal brand).

I personally see my brand more of an informal byproduct of my leadership style. We do have an internal platform that is muck like LinkedIn where I have seen a number of people who definitely promote a personal brand. I haven't updated my profile in years. For contractors however I could see it as much more valuable as you are less likely to be known by potential employers based on your reputation.

(We value) Outcomes over self-promotion :-)

Absolutely, agree. Our purpose is people and outcomes. But we must still remain cognizant of the 'brand' we are creating as a byproduct, that we remain professionally minded and due-diligent to ensure our message and/or brand is consistent, and accurate. That it tells the story we want it to convey to others.

I see your brand as the image how others see you.

First, you should be aware of it, as a matter of emotion intelligence, having not too many blind spots and if there are stitches be able to identify and smooth them out. If you know yourself, you are more self-confident, more authentic and trustworthy.

Second, you might want to consciously build your outer image for a purpose (compete, become a better person, be attractive). Actors are taught how to do this in a role. As you are here on the platform, you build your outer image in your social media profiles. Even by omitting something, you tell something - so you have a smirky photo, typos in your description, do not reply to requests? The best networkers are building their brand.

Professionals have agents who are helping with building their brands. Brands are not to neglect, not something that evolves somehow but integral parts of your identity. Like you care about your body hygiene, you should invest in your brand.
1 reply by George Freeman
Aug 07, 2019 4:27 PM
George Freeman
Thomas, that was elegantly stated! I especially liked your statement: “your brand is an integral part of your identity… like you care about your hygiene”. In other words, it should become part of our second nature.

I agree that we shouldn’t put brand ahead of substance (as Kiron stated), but if we take Thomas’s advice, our brand and our personal identity become one, thus reducing the risk of our brand becoming out of balance with our environment.
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