Women & Personal Brand Power

by | May 16, 2021 | Corporate culture, Founders & Entrepreneurs, Personal Brand

I’ve worked with many women in many different industries and stages in their careers, and have made some observations over time about how they approach their professional image.

Knowing your personal brand

Female business owners and entrepreneurs are often pretty good at understanding what it is they are good at and what they bring to clients/customers that is special and valuable. They are excited about their business, and may already have a wealth of experience in delivering value to stakeholders through their personal interactions with them, and through the business decisions they make. When I work with a business owner, they may need help communicating their expertise more clearly, but they can usually tell me what it is.

In contrast, I have found that many women within corporate teams, even at the executive and management levels, struggle to verbalise what it is they bring to their work that could potentially make them stand out from the crowd. I’ve encountered roadblocks when a woman is genuinely stumped when I ask the question: What makes you great at your work? I can honestly say that I can’t recall a time when a man has struggled to answer this question.

However, most women in any field or position can tell me what they love about the work they do – and this gives a lot of power to a personal brand.

Owning your personal brand

“When challenged with this question in relation to their profession: What makes you amazing? – few women can answer without faltering. It’s not that they don’t think they’re good at what they do, or that they can’t define it (though often with help) – it’s that they don’t OWN it. They don’t say: This is what I’m brilliant at and this is why.”

The Powerful Personal Brand, Chapter 3, Be You

Yet, a woman can tell you a close colleague or friend’s strengths without hesitation. What I’ve found helps with owning your personal brand is spending time thinking about your key strengths and clarifying them in very precise words.

It’s been my observation, through my personal brand clients and prior work in photography, that women just don’t know how amazing they really are. Imagine the power of really owning that, without conceit or pretence, but with certainty and confidence. The women who succeed in this – look to successful CEOs, educators, artists, scientists and sportswomen for examples – stand out a mile with powerful personal brands that are making a difference.

Read on below for ‘Transforming your personal brand’…

Transforming your personal brand 

Among the most special moments in my work have been those times when I could see a woman’s personal brand transform before my eyes.

A finance professional met with me for a short personal brand session just to talk out her ideas and be able to clarify them – she wanted to use her experience in her career to teach others just starting out, but hadn’t been sure what that would look like. The spark of inspiration and clarity in her eyes literally grew brighter as she talked!

A woman transitioning in her career broke down in tears during a workshop, stuck on the very first question I asked her: What do you love to do? That workshop was the beginning of a personal journey in clarifying what she had to offer in her career in order to shape it more mindfully.

A young woman who was displaying signs of apathy at work suddenly stepped up, after her team completed a workshop to define their strengths and communicate them with professional and authoritative language on their LinkedIn bios. As she completed this process, she defined what she was uniquely good at that she could bring more of to her team, and was subsequently given opportunities to shine in that area, completely changing her attitude.

Inevitably, when personal brands are defined and owned, they are transformed – and women walk taller and bring a more powerful presence into the room when they do. Because women (among other groups) frequently experience challenges in the balance of power, it’s essential that they learn how to come from a place of personal power in order to help nudge the scales towards equality.

This article first published 2017; reviewed 2021