Are you starting 2020 in control of your brand?

By Ginny Mackin. I’m not big on resolutions.

Sure, a crisp new calendar inspires me to become more organized and mindful of my time and priorities. But the big transformational proclamations leave me cold.

There is one commitment I made two years ago that has stuck, and I want to share it in hopes you will give it a try.

I work with individuals and teams to help them build clarity around themselves, their brands and reputations. A few years ago, the term “leader brand” struck me as contrived. After all, we are not consumer products or manufactured beings. But here is the rub – we DO have brands and we certainly have personal reputations. 

In fact, in this digital age, a professional reputation is our most precious asset because it is what we are known and remembered for.

Almost three years ago, I went through a significant career change. After 35 years working in big corporations, I left to strike out on my own.

After I took a few months to clear my head, I focused on my future. Nothing was clear. Ideas popped in and out of my head. I needed clarity. I needed to become clear about myself—my purpose and how my behaviors matched with my passions and work. Right before the new year, I worked on my own brand with a trusted colleague.

That process gave me clarity, purpose AND a language to put around who I am and what I stand for as a leader.


Why does this matter?

• First, if you are a leader at a company, research shows that 50 percent of that company’s reputation is attributed to you and your fellow leaders. This means that your reputation is as important to the company’s reputation as other things like products, services, culture and customer service.

• Second, leaders who intentionally cultivate their personal brands are far more successful in managing their career progressions. They do a better and more focused job of networking and presenting themselves more consistently in person and online.

• And third, the people who are important to you are watching and forming opinions. Prospective customers, employees and suppliers “learn up” about you from what they see online or what they hear from colleagues. Those who know you watch to make sure your feet match your mouth!

Whether you buy into resolutions or not, the start of a new year is a good time to refresh and consider your own brand and reputation. Over the next few months, I will discuss our brands, including how we build them, how we derail them and how we propel ourselves and our success—from the inside out.

For now, let’s take the first steps. In the corporate world, we take a page from Lean Six Sigma, and call this our “reason for action.” The goal is to dig deep and get real about the reasons for working on your brand.


How to get started:

Step1: Think about and write down the reasons you are taking action.

Example: I want to be promoted.

Don’t stop there. Take it a step further and state the underlying purpose or motivation.

Example: I want to overcome a perception that I am inexperienced so that I can be considered for the promotion.

Step 2:
After you consider your reason for action, think about and write down the reason that your organization or team need you to work on your personal brand.

Example: My company and leaders need me to demonstrate my experience so that they have more confidence in me as a manager, therefore I need to work on my personal brand.

Step 3: Now put it all together in a statement.

Example: I am working on my personal brand so that I can get promoted. I will do this by demonstrating that I am an experienced and valuable member of the team, therefore earning the confidence of my manager and company.

Ginny Stone Mackin is the principal of Grace & Stone Communications, LLC. Based in Cornelius, Ginny led communication functions at Ingersoll Rand, Duke Energy and Wachovia Corp. She also held management roles at Bank of America, CPC International and Bonwit Teller Stores.


One Response to “Are you starting 2020 in control of your brand?”

  1. I love this and how it is legitimate in so many fields-corporate or not!

    Posted by Lynn Daviet | January 14, 2020, 3:15 pm

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