Jumping on the ‘Brand’-Wagon

Becky Johnson-Kent
21 July 2022
Cell Therapy
Gene Therapy
Skills, Talent & Development
Becky Johnson summarizes her key takeaways from the first Women in Advanced Therapies roundtable for the year, focused on establishing and maintaining your ‘personal brand’.

For the first time, Phacilitate has opened up the Women in Advanced Therapies (WIAT) roundtable series to everyone, regardless of whether you are enrolled in the mentorship programme, or not!

Moderated by Pinar Cicalese, Director of CMC Commercial Strategy at Immatics, the first roundtable session for this year’s series explored how to build a personal brand, addressing the following questions:

  • What do you think about personal branding? Is it even a consideration?
  • Are there specific gender considerations/implications?
  • Should you curate your personal brand based on differing social platforms?
  • How do you define your personal brand and ensure its continuation and authenticity?
  • Finding your ‘comfort’, values and what you stand for.
  • Where do you want to go with your personal brand, and how can it take you there?

The roundtable itself was hosted under Chatham House Rules to enable full, unhindered participation from every participant, but I had a few key personal takeaways from the session that I felt would be interesting to share!

“I thought personal brand was just for influencers, but I can see how personal brand is useful!”

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1 – Personal Brand is Not ‘Reputation’

The first thing that stood out to me was that ‘personal brand’ is not the same thing as ‘reputation’, due to a few fundamental differences.

Whereas a reputation may be achieved involuntarily and based on others’ perception of you, your personal brand is something you build over time through deliberate action, that can also evolve as you move throughout your career.


2 – Build Your Brand Based on What Motivates You

In building your own personal brand, you need to consider what it is you want to be known for, while maintaining an authentic core element. At the end of the day, you have to work on building your personal brand – if you’re trying to perpetuate something that is not authentic, it’s going to be really hard work!

What gets you out of bed in the morning? Building your brand is easier once you have established what it is that really motivates you (and what doesn’t…). Ask yourself questions about who you are, what inspires you and where you want to be, before thinking outside of your own perception. What does your team believe you are known for? What are you relied on for? Think about who it is you already are to establish a baseline of what your personal brand could be, to ensure you build your brand maintaining authenticity.

3 – Invest Your Energy Carefully

Aligning your communication and actions with your personal brand is important, as you want to avoid others defining your brand for you. Look for opportunities for aligning your personal brand development with core business goals, and try not to spread yourself too thin – you don’t want to dilute your brand.

You should also consider how you promote your brand, or keep yourself visible. Attend conferences (we know a few good ones…), write articles, update your LinkedIn, ask questions in meetings and network! Push yourself to celebrate your successes – it’s not bragging, it’s promotion!

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“This topic is now less daunting, thank you Pinar!”

After a very engaging, friendly and productive discussion, everyone left with many more takeaways and personal actions for developing their own personal brands than I could summarize, but some top tips from the group included:

  1. Stay authentic to yourself in establishing your personal brand
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help in establishing your brand’s ‘baseline’
  3. Invest your energy selectively in developing your personal brand
  4. Keep your brand visible and don’t be afraid to promote yourself
  5. It’s not bragging – it’s celebrating success!

If you would like to join us for the next session, you can find out more about our roundtable series schedule via the WIAT group in the Phacilitate Network. Join here for free, head to the ‘Women in Advanced Therapies’ group under ‘Specialist Groups’, and check out the ‘Events’ section. You can RSVP to our sessions from here, and even start the conversation early.

We have also uploaded the slides from the personal brand session into the Network group, including a ‘personal branding toolkit’, key questions for assessing your personal brand baseline and some useful links for finding more information.

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