With so much misinformation about personal branding bombarding us across social media, it’s easy to see why people are confused.
But the concept of personal branding is quite simple:
Define, differentiate and communicate the unique ROI (return on investment) value you offer your target audience over your competitors.
Target audiences differ, just as what they’re looking for in people like you differs.
For job search and career management, your brand and the way you communicate it need to resonate with your target employers and/or current employer.
In business, build your brand communications around what will hit home with your customers or clients.
In effect, your brand helps people decide whether to hire you, keep you as an employee, or do business with you.
The concept is simple, but uncovering your brand to get to that simple formula requires deep reflection. The factors that converge to exact a memorable brand and express it powerfully are complex:
Get clear on what you want to do next, which employers will fulfill your career needs, and what current needs of theirs you’re uniquely qualified to meet. Know your target audience so you’ll know what makes you a good fit for them.
Think about the activities, interests, or conversational topics that fascinate or excite you and make you feel energized. Your passions make you get out of bed at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning or get you talking enthusiastically with others. How do your passions converge with what you are best at doing?
Give a feel for the kind of person you are and how you used your top personal attributes to make things happen for your employers.
You’re unique. Make your brand messaging reflect that. Translate the passions you have into content with personality. Don’t be afraid to pack a punch. Generate excitement about you as a candidate. Get “personal” with your brand.
Don’t be fake. Don’t make claims about yourself that you can’t back up. Be genuine. Define who you are now and what you offer now – not who you want to be or the kind of person you want to be thought of.
Dig deep into the personal attributes and qualities that drive you and make you unique. How have you used these traits to benefit your employers?
Showcase your motivated skills and areas of expertise – the ones you excel at, love doing and contribute the most by doing. Having a hard time identifying them? Try developing Challenge – Action(s) – Result(s) or CARs stories.
Find out how you’re perceived by the external world – the true measure of your personal brand.
Get feedback from those who know you and your work best – peers, management, staff, employees, clients, mentors, etc. They will affirm or make you question your own assessment of your value to your target employers.
7. Differentiation of Your Unique Value Proposition
What qualifications, skills and areas of expertise set you apart from others competing for the same kinds of jobs? What combination of things do you have to offer that no one else does?
Quantify – or better yet, monetize – your ROI value. What makes you worth the high cost of hiring? What makes you the best hiring choice?
Work on tight writing on the (paper, digital and web) page and to-the-point verbal communications of who you are and the value you offer. Don’t bore people with superfluous and irrelevant content.
Keep yourself visible and top of mind with your target audience/target employers. Position yourself on LinkedIn and other social media, and relevant blogs. Develop a realistic online brand communications plan and stick to it. Be online or be invisible.
10. The 3 Cs – health insurance for your personal brand:
Clarity – Be clear about who you are, who you are not, who your competitors are, and who your target audience is.
Consistency – Consistently express the same personal brand message, designed to resonate with your target audience, across all communications channels you decide to use.
Constancy – Memorable brands are always visible to their target audience. Proactively stay top of mind with them through social media, real-life networking, and all other personal marketing efforts.