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Power of your Personal Brand – ISPE Women in Pharma

Stephanie K. Thatcher
Article - ISPE Pharmaceutical Engineering
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We are surrounded by branding every day, influencing how we buy for our food, cars, and drugs. When you buy your medication, do you buy a brand-name or a generic? According to the FDA, a generic drug is a medication created to be the same as an existing approved brand-name drug in dosage form, safety, strength, route of administration, quality, and performance characteristics. All things being equal, when I’m faced with which medicine to buy, I still go with the brand-name 9 times out of 10. I trust the brand and the company behind the brand. I perceive a higher quality and better results even if it has the exact ingredients. And when it comes to the health of my family, I am willing to pay more for the brand-name drug.

Branding doesn’t just influence our decisions to buy “things.” Branding also applies to people, to each and every one of us. Your personal brand is how you are perceived by others. It is what people think of you and all your strengths and weaknesses. It is everything that makes you… YOU. It is what people say about you when you are not in the room.

It turns out that what people think about you does matter. It is your personal brand that will get you the next promotion, new job, or new opportunity. It is your personal brand that will get you a seat at the table and get you paid what you are worth. It is your personal brand that sets you apart from others who have a similar education, experience, and credentials.

In looking back on my career, I used to believe working hard would reward me with great success. For years, I worked harder and later than most of my team members. I was the silent warrior. Work just happened without the knowledge of others, recognition, or fanfare for all my efforts. It reminds me of the old question:

"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

If no one knew about all my hard work and no one perceived me as a hard worker, did it make a real difference in my success? No, it did not. Perception IS reality.

Being a hard worker is part of who I am. When I was eight, my dad decided to remodel our family home as a ‘family project.’ While our friends played on weekends, my sister and I removed asbestos insulation, demoed three layers of roofing, and installed all the power outlets. After couch surfing in my own home for middle school and high school, I was rewarded for all my hard work with my very own bedroom overlooking Puget Sound.

‘Hard worker’ is a key attribute of my authentic self. It is one part of my personal brand. But, there are so many attributes that make up who we are. Personal branding starts with you discovering yourself as a brand. Check out SELFBRAND for self-assessments and resources from an expert in the subject of personal branding, Catherine Kaputa.

After you define your personal brand, how do make your attributes like ‘hard worker’ benefit you? Differentiate you? Drive more value for your personal brand? Attract people to you? Create more opportunity?

This is where the marketing starts. You ‘package’ your brand and then make it visible to people who matter in your world for your success - your client, your boss, your team, and your associations. Get people to say yes to you versus someone else.

Being a generic personal brand and achieving modest success is pretty easy. You get educated, show up, work hard, do a quality job, go home… repeat. Please keep in mind, if you decide not to control your personal brand, be assured other people are molding your personal brand for you and defining your future.

The most important brand in the world is YOU! If you take an active role in your personal brand, you will benefit from the results. Once I combined my hard work with some personal branding that gained me recognition, notable changes started happening. I started to see the power of personal branding. I was no longer a generic brand. I am still a work in progress and plan to continue my path of growth for years to come.

Make the investment to define, develop, manage, and market your personal brand. Take the first step by defining your personal brand. Then BE INTENTIONAL. Don’t allow your brand to be defined by accident or worse, by your competition. Yes, it takes work to gain that edge. Take the first step to define your brand and you will be on your way to experiencing the power of your personal brand.

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