Building Your Personal Brand in Product Management – Why? (Part 1)

Personal BandDuring the busy working life of the Product Manager, there is little mind space or time to create a clever plan to flaunt one’s Personal Brand in professional networks for the benefit of one’s career.

We outline 8 good reasons why you should be using this time to devise a Personal Brand Plan. For those who want to progress their Product Management career at a dynamic pace, a Personal Brand plan will position yourself in the eyes of your colleagues, industry peers, as well as influencers over the course of your career – those who may hold the keys to future Product Management opportunities.

1. Product Management is a high profile job

Whether you like being in the limelight or not, it is your job to be the advocate for your product. Product Management is a high profile profession that interfaces with many parts of the organisation internally and externally. If you don’t have a Personal Brand Plan as to how you are perceived by your stakeholders then you may experience difficulties when it comes to successfully getting their commitment and support to deliver your products and services.

2. Dealings with the best Product Manager

Product Managers are expected to be armed with a wealth of Product Management skills, experience and knowledge on a broad range of areas. Instill confidence in your colleagues and stakeholders that they are working with the best Product Manager in the organisation by openly sharing your accomplishments.

In fact, set the bar as high as you can by giving them reason to believe that you are the best Product Manager in your field or geography, based on what you have done in the past as well as the progress you are making with current projects.

3. Demonstrate your current value NOW builds your brand value for the future

When it comes to your longer term career planning, your future employer is going to judge you by your body of work. They will be interested in seeing your impact on the performance of your products, product pitches you have delivered, strategy plans that you developed and executed, any internal or external articles that you have written or contributed to, as well as any other related artefacts.

If you haven’t already, start collating and creating artefacts relating to your career highlights for your portfolio, such as product performance metrics that you are proud of, published work, project outputs such as ‘sanitised’ Customer Journey Maps, Personas, Business Cases.

It goes without saying that you will have to edit these documents accordingly to strip out confidential information. These artefacts will not only serve as evidence of past achievements but also make it easier for you to refer to the highlights in your body of work.

4. Recalling your career highlights

Future employers will also call on people you work with over the years to for their opinion of your, your work style and your deliverables, so it’s always good to have published information about your achievements that your immediate network can easily refer to. Linkedin is a great place to demonstrate your achievements, as well as link to supporting crucial artefacts that are evidence of your success.

5. A long Product Management career

Your Product Management career is likely to have more longevity than your current Product’s Lifecycle. In the same way that you should develop your Product Brand Plan, you should also take your personal brand plan development with equal zest. Whilst a product has a lifecycle of 2-10 years, (depending on the product category), for most of us in the Product Management profession now, your career has greater longevity and given the limited time that we have to invest in building our personal brand, it is something that you want to plan for, or least consider going into 2014 so that we start right.

6. Networks are not built overnight

With your future career aspirations in mind, don’t wait until you are actually out of work before you start to network and update your online profile. It will look really obvious to those who you are trying to build rapport with that the sole reason why you are seeking their time is to get a job immediately. People generally are happy to provide career and industry advice, but your value to them is increased if you are in a job and can reciprocate, whether it be non-confidential and up-to-date insights about your industry or an introduction to members of your close network.

7. Avoid complacency

An out of date online profile suggests complacency if you are a Product Manager. Sporadic updates online show give the impression that you don’t care about your personal brand, outside your immediate job. It suggests that you live and work in a very narrow world – which is a negative trait in the world of Product Management. We are all expected to be knowledgeable and be able to succinctly articulate our knowledge in a way that our colleagues and stakeholders in the most effective manner.

8. Employers are looking for Product Managers with holistic profiles

The reality is that employers, suppliers and customers want to deal with extraordinary human beings contributing to society in ways other than their job, and will be interested in how you are making your contribution outside your job as a Product Manager. Any volunteer work, contributions to fundraisers (other than donations) and other community activities, reflect where your social conscience lies.

Whether you are about to make the leap into the job market this year, or will change jobs later on, it is important that you are continually crafting your personal brand in the eyes of your immediate stakeholders, as well as the benefit of future bosses and colleagues, that is if you know what your future dream job(s) are.

This is your year to shine in your Product Management role. To find out how you build your Personal Brand in Product Management, in the eyes of those who count in your job and/or career in Product Management, see Part 2 of this series of ‘Building Your Personal Brand in Product Management’.