Assess, Amplify, Advance = Strong Personal Brand

Katherine Surgenor is a Senior Partner with Ogilvy and Mather based in Toronto.  She emphasizes personal branding is the key to rising above the fray and standing out.

“A resume isn’t good enough anymore, and being good at your job is what is expected its ‘table stakes’,” Surgenor says.

As consumers demand more and more information about where their food comes from it’s become imperative for farmers to stand-out and tell the story about what farms look like and how they produce food.

“It’s a sad state that a lot of people in Canada really don’t understand that the majority of farming does not happen in big corporate farms, they are owned by farming families.”

This is why producers need to ensure they have a strong personal brand, so they can enhance their story and have a competitive advantage.

It can also help in promoting your product, whether it be a crop of malt barley, tomatoes or lentils.  It also applies to selling services such as agrology, marketing grain or hauling livestock.   No matter what it is, a strong personal brand can bring with it the confidence to help you make the sale, connect with your customer and be a leader in your industry.

“If you are the president, then you are the face, people want to deal with a person, they don’t want to deal with a faceless organization.”


So how do you build up your personal brand?  Surgenor says it’s done through a three step process.

Assess – Stop, take a deep breathe from your busy life and audit yourself.  Ask yourself the tough questions: What do I value? Where am I in this stage of life?  What do things mean to me? What do I have to do for my children? What does the future hold?   And after you have answered those questions, ask around find out what others think of you.  Also reflect on the past, present and future.

Amplify –  Once you have yourself figured out, go and tell people about your strengths.   If you’re a great agrologist go do some guest blogging or set up your own blog and talk about the subject and show people your strengths. By answering those questions and asking around, Surgenor says, you will get a better sense of who you are.

Advance – Move forward. If you are not advancing you are standing still.  Always make it your mission to continue to grow and advance.

Surgenor says you can help yourself with this process by finding worksheets online.

Katherine Surgenor spoke about the importance of Personal Branding at the Advancing Women Conference East 2016 in Toronto. The next Advancing Women Conference is in Calgary on March 6 and 7. For more information click here.

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