Brand-manage yourself!

In the 21st century multi-faceted corporation, managing your professional image amid increased variety ought to be a deliberate exercise by which you become the author of your own identity. HBS professor Laura Morgan Roberts says if you aren't managing your own professional image, others are. She proposes a strategic, proactive approach to managing your image consisting of the following steps:

  • Identify your ideal state.
    • What are the core competencies and character traits you want people to associate with you?
    • Which of your social identities do you want to emphasize and incorporate into your workplace interactions, and which would you rather minimize?
  • Assess your current image, culture, and audience.
    • What are the expectations for professionalism?
    • How do others currently perceive you?
  • Conduct a cost-benefit analysis for image change.
    • Do you care about others' perceptions of you?
    • Are you capable of changing your image?
    • Are the benefits worth the costs? (Cognitive, psychological, emotional, physical effort)
  • Use strategic self-presentation to manage impressions and change your image.
    • Employ appropriate traditional and social identity-based impression management strategies.
    • Pay attention to the balancing act?build credibility while maintaining authenticity.
  • Manage the effort you invest in the process.
    • Monitoring others' perceptions of you
    • Monitoring your own behavior
    • Strategic self-disclosure
    • Preoccupation with proving worth and legitimacy
This is not unlike any branding exercise. The novelty could be in self-awareness informed by such an exercise.

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