Taking charge of your own brand
Women in Packaging is a group to connect, support and recognise female employees in the UK packaging industry. It aims to attract and retain women to the sector while providing further education. It’ll be no surprise to learn that, as a woman in packaging, employed by a design and packaging company that has a diverse workforce, I’m one of a handful of proud members from Sun Branding Solutions.
The group’s most recent networking event in Leeds aimed to connect women in the packaging sector and share their experiences, and included a presentation from Alison Finlay on personal branding.
Alison has a background in marketing but for the last 17 years has been running her own business, Finlay Kirkmanhelping people become the best of what they are. So what did we learn?
You are the brand
Brands command a premium – we pay more for them. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, brands are easily recognisable, give us reassurance and in some cases provide a status symbol. However, it takes a long time to develop that legacy.
As a brand owner, you need to consider what you’re trying to convey from your brand and what values you want it to represent. The brand is like your child - how do people perceive your brand?
From a personal branding perspective, first impressions count because you’re the product. You interact with so many people – suppliers, customers, work colleagues - so it’s good to have a brand story and know your USP.
Make a statement
As women we’re not always great at saying what we’re good at. Compared to male colleagues, we can have a tendency to pick out what we can’t do rather than showcasing our strengths.
Tom Rath’s book, Strengths Finder 2.0, outlines 34 key strengths which people exhibit. By identifying your top 5, you can use these as your personal values in the way you think and act at work… which can often help when making plans and decisions as you’ll want to honour these values.
Another tip is to ask your colleagues for three words that describe you as a person. This can be revelatory, as we don’t always see ourselves in the best light. A different perspective is invaluable.
You can also express yourself in your brand. Alison has clients who dress in hints of colours of their brand each day, such as fuchsia pink shoes, or a swatch of orange. Be proud of your brand!
Women in packaging matter
At Sun Branding Solutions, we are quite lucky in the fact that we have several senior women in the business. But overall, our industry, like many in the UK, remains a male dominated one. Women have to fight to be heard, and it is important that they are.
More and more businesses are realising that there is value in diversity. This is particularly so in packaging where there is a direct and tangible need to understand the consumer and how they engage with products.
If the work that we do comes predominantly from the perspective of only half of the population, then how can we expect it to engage with them all?