Executive coaching clients wanting to enhance their role and impact in their current workplace continuously ask me, “How do I get greater recognition?” “Make sure my boss doesn’t get all of the credit?” “What’s the best way to be found by potential employers and thought leaders in my field?” My answer is often “brand yourself.”

We all know of solid, well-established, brands, even some people have managed to become universal brands. In the December 2010, the Harvard Business Review article titled “The One Thing You Must Get Right When Building Your Brand” authors, Barwise and Meehan, list four ways to remain faithful to meeting customer needs. I believe this is the essence of personal branding.

  1. Make a clear promise.
  2. Earn and maintain trust by delivering on your promise.
  3. Over deliver, improve, or somehow continue to enhance the pledge.
  4. Surprising the customer by developing, delivering, or communicating with them something they did not expect.

These tenets easily translate from products to individuals. The promise comes into play when we accept employment but more importantly when we take on a role and agree to certain goals and objectives we will deliver. Weigh-in and buy-in are essential components of this because it makes a pact between you and your boss, your department, and organization.

You know I am a strong advocate of the “know, like, trust,” factor in all types of relationships. To earn trust you must do what you say. It can be as simple as respecting deadlines and maintaining quality and as serious as being honest with corporate funds and properties as well as representing the company in a way that is truthful and honest. A high level of regard for co-workers, regardless of rank, will earn you points and provide you with advocates you may need sometime down the pike. An integrity blemish is difficult to erase and has a tendency to grow in the rumor bin. On the other hand, acting within ones integrity builds the type of reputation that people wish to be associated with and want to know. That often translates into greater access and even a welcoming into the inner circle.

Contributing more doesn’t always mean working harder. What it often demands is thinking deeper and broader. Steve Jobs, when asked why he doesn’t solicit more suggestions from his users, quoted Henry Ford, “If I asked my potential customers what they wanted they would have said a better horse.” Real contributors anticipate, redesign, and find alternative uses, while remaining true to the core. Is that you?

In the same vein, when was the last time your comments, e-mail, model, or brief turned heads? You don’t need a large number to make a lasting impression. Contributions like these also help you create your unique signature--work that is identified with you regardless who attempts to take the credit. It’s why each of us needs to take time to think forward, out of the proverbial box, without giving to much credence to prevailing thoughts, the naysayers or our own insecurities.

If you wanted to enhance your brand, how would you make a clear pledge? Earn trust by measurably delivering on your promises? How could you over deliver on your commitment and at times surprise your colleagues and amaze your customers? Figure this out and your well on your way to having a professional brand.

(c) Jane Cranston.

Author's Bio: 

Jane Cranston is an executive career coach. She works with success-driven executives, managers and leaders to reach their potential, better manage their boss and staff, as well as develop a career strategy to reach goals and aspirations. Jane is the author of Great Job in Tough Times a step-by-step job search system. Click here to subscribe to her twice monthly Competitive Edge Report.