Denise Kaigler is an award-winning communications, marketing and brand strategist, and the founder and principal of MDK Brand Management, LLC. Among her many accomplishments, she is also the author of Forty Dollars and a Brand: How to Overcome Challenges, Defy the Odds, and Live Your Awesomeness. Check her website (http://mdkbrandmanagement.com) to see Denise’s coaching offerings.
How do you define a personal brand?
I like to say it’s what people say about you when you leave the room! And all of us really have the power to frame that narrative. It’s what we’re known for, the impression we give, our compelling story! It’s all that.
So how can you shape your brand?
You have to think about the career you want and then the qualities of someone who has succeeded in that career. Then, do a survey; ask people you trust what they would say about you. What are the traits that stand out? For example, if being successful in your field means being well-connected and organized, is that what people are saying about you? If not, then look at the gaps and start planning your strategy for how to get there—and then execute!
What holds people back in developing their brand?
Sometimes it starts with just not knowing where you want to go. In coaching, I have people pick a timeline, say one year, or two years, or five years and think about where they want to go – to avoid just blindly moving through time. Also, some people really are afraid to ask others about how they come across. What’s important to remember is that once you find out, you can start taking steps to help develop that brand you’re seeking.
What else can help us grow professionally?
I really believe we have the power to change our brand – we’re not stuck! – and knowing that is very helpful. I’ve seen the results from people in many different settings. Pre-COVID-19, I worked with several Massachusetts correctional facilities and helped people there transform their lives. But first, they had to believe they were worthy, and beautiful, and smart. Once they had that belief, they could start creating a road map and begin taking steps.
What has helped you in your own business?
I’ve spent 25 years in corporate settings in senior executive roles. I’ve had many successes and, of course, some failures. I’m very direct, and I like to tell stories about all those situations because they have helped shape who I am today–and people can relate to the situations. I think having that depth of experience and really showcasing it has helped me a lot in connecting with clients. So, for someone interested in really serving clients, I say you need to be who you are and share your stories with others.
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