Building Your Personal Brand

I had the opportunity to speak on the Women in Science and Technology (#WiST) panel this week hosted by Recursion Pharmaceuticals along with some bad a$$ other female leaders.  Thanks to the Recursion team for putting on these networking events to help connect women and men around Salt Lake City on important topics.

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This topic is an interesting one for me.  I have to admit that I am skeptical of the topic as described, but sincerely appreciate the discussion, and will try to reframe the topic for you in a way that hopefully helps.

Let’s start with why I am skeptical of this concept.  Throughout my years in the marketing industry, I have seen many companies and brands define their “brand promise” as something that was a stretch – too aspirational – and sometimes even inauthentic.  Then, they have continued forward spending a lot of time, energy and money marketing this brand when instead the company could have worked to actually achieve the service excellence or product performance or company culture that would have made the brand aspiration real.

Sometimes, I have been a part of or watched marketing professionals develop brands or marketing campaigns for the sake of creative marketing alone versus for the sake of business growth.  Don’t get me wrong, there are great brands, authentic marketing and excellent marketing professionals out there who work to do it right – but the variability I have seen makes me skeptical about most “branding” not to mention “personal branding” headlines.

I shared in the panel that over the last 10-15 years I have reframed my own thinking about personal branding instead to focus on a broader question:  What is my purpose?  I believe that answering this question starts by reflecting on what you want to be known for – what you want to leave as your legacy.  The more clear and authentic your thought on this question, the more effective the answer can be in determining your personal brand or purpose.

Through this reflection, I have decided that my purpose is to build great things that leave a lasting positive impact on the world.  I choose to do this by…

  • Truly CARING about those in my life
  • ASKING questions to LEARN
  • Taking a STEP FORWARD every single day
  • DREAMING BIG and not being afraid to TRY and FAIL
  • Assuming POSITIVE intent in all of my relationships

I try hard to let this be my guide in my behavior and my decisions.  And, I work hard to have it show up most importantly in my daily behavior.  I also allow it to show up as a part of my marketing (e.g. this blog, linkedin, other social media, etc.).  I am not always on point, but the more I work on it, the happier I am.

So why do this personal development?  To me, the more clear you are on your purpose, the more effective you can be at making decisions you are proud of, deciding how to prioritize your time and ultimately choosing the tactics you will take in your personal marketing (if any!).

Lots of more great thoughts from the group of panelists at the event – Kat McDavitt, Chief Marketing Officer, Collective Medical; Brooke Clark, Senior Director of Talent Acquisition, Recursion; and Heather Kirkby, Chief People Officer, Recursion.   These ladies rock!  Follow them up on twitter if you want to hear their point-of-view.

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