Starting a new job is a notable branding challenge. It is an opportunity to create a positive brand in a new environment. It is also a challenge, since you begin with little established equity to fall back on.
Creating positive brand perceptions is incredibly important -- the perceptions will have an impact on the assignments you receive and how people evaluate your work. Brands can be reinforcing, too. A strong personal brand leads to better opportunities and less scrutiny, and these things build your brand even further.
Here are three things to focus on as you get started in a business role.
1. Remember that everything matters.
It is tempting to focus on your deliverables -- your reports, recommendations, and analyses. These are certainly important.
Remember, though, that brands are formed by every touch point. Brand leaders know that everything matters. A brand like Patagonia is shaped by the products, store environment, catalogs, social media activities, advertising, public advocacy, and staff. Each element has an impact on how we feel about Patagonia.
This insight has a huge impact on how you should approach your job, especially in the early days. If you show up for a meeting late and juggling a stack of crumpled papers, you will shape your brand and not in a good way. If you make a snarky comment on social media about your new employer, you will damage your brand.
Think about all your personal touch points and work hard to create positive perceptions.
2. Check your numbers.
In a business environment, numbers matter. When the results are good, people are happy -- they get a good bonus, more autonomy and perhaps a promotion. When the numbers aren't good, well, things can be stressful.
As a result, you want to quickly establish yourself as a credible business leader, and this means knowing the numbers. So focus on the figures. What are the numbers people use and trust? Where do they come from? What do they mean?
Knowing the numbers doesn't mean you will be successful, but not knowing the numbers means you will not advance up the ranks.
3. Present well.
Your biggest opportunity to shine will be your presentations. When you are taking senior people through an analysis or recommendation, you have a unique chance to shape perceptions and build your brand. You can shine or flop.
So prepare! Create a presentation that tells a story through headlines. Practice it. Check for typos and review the numbers. Think about what questions people will ask and how you will answer them. Pre-sell the presentation to key people on the team.
You don't need to memorize your presentation -- this just creates more problems. You want to know the presentation well so you can take people through it in a natural fashion.
If you remember that you are creating perceptions throughout the day, know the figures, and present well, you will create a strong, positive brand that will help you throughout your career.