Women have been slow to recognize the importance of personal branding. But not Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo. The 40-year-old executive was the 20th employee of Google and the first female engineer. She quickly became known as the woman who made Google successful. Not everyone has worked as hard to develop their brand.
According to a Forbes survey, only 15% of employees have truly defined their brand, and only 5% are living their brand every day at the workplace.
Why is that important, you might ask? Well, having a personal brand has become essential for most people today because of new trends in the workforce. The average tenure of a U. S. employee is 4.6 years and for those aged 25-34, it is only three years. And now one out of three U. S. workers are now freelancers.
A more flexible workforce has been created out of the recession with companies seeking to lower their employee costs. Additionally the online marketplace created by companies like TaskRabbit and Get A Guru and the rise of shared economy employers like Uber and AirBnB have allowed workers more flexibility for employment. Added on top of these trends, mobile technology now allows more people to work when and where they choose.
These factors set up an environment where we are constantly preparing for our next role, whether in our current company, at our next employer or possibly as a freelancer or an entrepreneur. And we need a personal brand.
A personal brand allows us to stand out from the crowd and to create mindshare for ourselves. Some of the benefits of a personal brand include new business introductions, rewarding partnerships, leadership opportunities, recognition, added credibility and a higher perceived value.
Is building a personal brand shameless self-promotion? It isn’t but some women may feel challenged in creating a personal brand. Psychologists say men are encouraged from childhood to talk about their accomplishments, while women learn self-deprecation. However, true personal branding is about authenticity and values. Women with positive brands are giving value, sharing knowledge, acknowledging others, nurturing relationships, showering praise and expressing gratitude. There are even professionals today helping women learn to talk about themselves. One leadership coach hosts “Brag Parties” where women practice talking about themselves.
It’s not to late to start working on your brand. Start working on your differentiation and elevator speech today.