Branding Yourself for Success
By Hillary Schubach, Canopy Advisor
As any good marketer knows, the key to marketing success is a solid brand foundation. It’s impossible to sell a brand effectively if you don’t know what it stands for. Similarly, as a professional out there trying to win business in a competitive marketplace, it’s important that you understand your own personal brand and have the same sense of awareness about yourself.
This does not mean spinning your story to impress potential clients or employers, or telling them what you think they want to hear. It means presenting your authentic self in the best light possible. It means taking a premium product (YOU) and wrapping it in beautiful packaging, showing off your true colors inside, then adding a well-written “label” that lets and letting your personality shine through, so that you stand out from all of the others.
You may have heard the terms “brand identity” or “brand positioning statement.” Coming up with your personal brand involves a very similar exercise. While there are a number of meaningful elements that comprise the branding process, I recommend that you focus on these 5, and you’ll be off to a running start:
What is your overall reason for being? Your ultimate dream? How do you envision the world after you play your role in it? For an independent practitioner, this is your long-term career goal. Think big. This should be your ongoing source of inspiration.
What gets you out of bed on a daily basis? What do you plan to accomplish today, or tomorrow? Take a nearer-term view and think about the immediate impact you intend to have. For an individual, this is your short-term career goal.
What is important to you? What do you believe in? What are your priorities? By what criteria do you make decisions? Brainstorm broadly, then consolidate your list to 5-8 core values.
What are you like? What are your core traits and characteristics? Perhaps you’re quirky (Snapple), nurturing (Betty Crocker), sentimental (Hallmark) or competent (the Wall Street Journal). Ask colleagues or friends/family for input. These special qualities make you relatable to your target audience and help foster a connection between you.
Brand positioning statement:
How are you differentiated from others in your competitive set? What do you uniquely have to offer to your target audience? What can you promise (and deliver on) that others can’t? Then, include 3 good reasons why we should believe you.
Capture your personal brand on a page, then keep it on your desk to inspire you as you’re putting together your business proposals, your resume, or preparing for presentations. Remember, no other professional is exactly like you. And before your own marketing process can begin, you’ve got to know what your brand is all about and what makes you the most deserving product on the shelf.
© Hillary Schubach, July 14, 2014, 10:00am MT