When is the last time you took a close look at your personal brand? Is it time for a brand audit?
As you may know, brand audits are conducted by organizations to adjust and plan strategic marketing. If you’re unaware of your target market, goals, values, and how you’re meeting those marks, your personal branding isn’t as effective as it could be. If you haven’t examined your personal branding with a critical eye in over a year, it’s past time.
Audit questions for yourself:
- What are your core professional values? Just as you would create and update a core value statement for a company you started, you should have a written statement of core values to hold yourself accountable to them. Are you a fan of servant leadership? Is constantly improving your knowledge base important to you? There are infinite possibilities here, and no wrong answers, just personal preferences. If you DO have a set of core professional values, are you living up to them? Do they still meet your personal and professional needs, or should they be adjusted for new circumstances?
- What is your professional mission or ultimate goal? This statement should describe your current version of long-term success in a way that inspires and encourages you. If you have one already, evaluate if this mission/goal is still valid for you and your career. Have you reached it? Time to set another!
- Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years? This may help you evaluate #2, and will help you clarify your short-term goals as well as the long-term.
- Does your personal branding reflect your values, mission, and goals? Does your social media presence, website/blog, and networking meet your standards for your values? Are all the elements of your branding focused on creating a reputation that furthers your mission or goals? If it does, great, keep it up! If not, get to work and start making changes.
- Google (search) your name. What comes up? Are they results that show a good reputation, or do they show a reputation in need of a clean-up? Examine at least 3 pages of results, if available.
- Briefly evaluate your social media Are your profiles complete and current? Are your posts or tweets positive and professional? Are they appearing consistently, or do you need to put them on your calendar? Are your settings arranged to notify you of recent communications and requests? Responding quickly is important to your online networking.
Then, ask for some feedback to those who work with, have worked with, or who know you professionally. It’s hard to be completely objective about your own brand, you need some outside perspective now and again. One of the easier ways to approach the subject is to explain that you’ve read that personal branding is crucial to career success, so you’ve chosen to audit your own reputation.
Audit questions for close colleagues or network contacts:
- If asked to describe me, professionally, what would come to mind? Explain that you are taking a hard look at your branding and reputation and are trying to identify any areas you need to work on.
- Do people enjoy working in teams with me? If not, what can you do to improve? If you begin collecting negative responses, you may want to contact a career coach or other professional to help you work on your communication skills.
- When you observe me on social media, do you feel I interact online in a professional, positive manner? Have you seen any post or tweet that made you consider contacting me with concerns? Encourage your colleagues and contacts to reach out if they see an online gaffe. Offer to do the same, if they like.