WOTC: Building A Personal Brand Is Key To Standing Out In Next-Generation Workforce

Each day, the average professional gets 122 emails, and that number is growing 15 percent a year. That volume adds to the massive, overwhelming number of tasks each person has to deal with, if he or she wants to stand out in the workplace, according to a brand marketing specialist.

The challenge is, in today's workplace, this overload is unsustainable, marketing strategy consultant Dorie Clark told attendees at this week's Women of the Channel West event in Napa, Calif. Because of the communication and workload onslaught, she said, people need to find a new way to reach their career goals.

"Unfortunately these days, with 122 emails pinging through our inbox every day, we might be waiting a long time [to get what we want]," said Clark, CEO at Clark Strategic Communications, during the event sponsored by The Channel Company, CRN's parent. "What we need to do, if we want to have the careers and the lives we want, is to take control of understanding what we do best and communicating to other people our full value and abilities that can be tapped at work."

[Related: WOTC: How Younger Women Can Find The Road To Success]

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Developing a personal brand is a key way to showcase that value and ability in the workplace, Clark said, defining a personal brand as your reputation.

"Your reputation is what is going to determine if you are successful at work," Clark said. "We have to get that message across to people in a way that makes sense and connects so they understand the value you can bring," she said.

There are three steps to building that brand, Clark said. The first is discovering what that brand is, she said. To do that, she recommended the women in the audience ask half a dozen friends and colleagues for three words that best describe them. The patterns that emerge from the comments will help provide guidance for how they are perceived in the workplace and at home, she said.

To create a brand from there, Clark recommended the women home in on what they are experts in and build a network around them to spread their brand in a positive way. That network doesn't have to be mentors, she said, but can also include advocates, peers with traits or skills they wish to develop or someone who will speak up on their behalf.

"We need to choose who we're spending time with and who we are learning from. These people are the mirror who reflect back on us and make us better," Clark said.

Another key part of developing a personal brand is building "executive presence," Clark said, which comprises appearance, communication and gravitas.

Finally, she said, women have to live their brand. To do that, Clark recommended budgeting in an hour dedicated to networking a week. That can include checking in, or grabbing a cup of coffee, or reaching out to a different department in the company, she said. She also recommended getting a "wing man" at events, where each commits to touting each other's best traits.

"It's about process, … taking proactive steps of creating your brand and determining how you want to be seen, and taking steps to get there and living out your brand," Clark said.