Want to safeguard your executive personal brand and keep it working for you? Practice the 3 Cs of brand communication – the cornerstone of personal branding.
William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson, who innovated the strategy in their benchmark Career Distinction: Stand Out by Building Your Brand, say every strong brand embraces these three characteristics:
Be clear about who you are, who you are not, who your competitors are, and who your target audience is.
Understand precisely what differentiates the value you offer from your peers so that you can express it with energy and confidence.
Know your competitors so that you can distinguish your brand message from theirs.
Identify your target audience and where you will find them so that you’ll know where to strategically position yourself and communicate your key messages, and how to attract people who will aid you in reaching your career goals.
Be sure your personal marketing materials speak to your target audience and are thoroughly aligned with meeting their needs.
For example, if your resume and career biography are generic, trying to be all things to all people, you can’t possibly speak to the specific needs of your target companies. You’ll be communicating a murky message that won’t hit home with anyone and certainly won’t convince them that you’re the right hiring choice.
Consistently express the same personal brand message, designed to resonate with your target audience, across all communications channels you decide to use.
Put yourself in the place of people assessing you through your communications and deciding whether to hire you or do business with you. If your brand message varies from one real-life setting to the next or from one social network to the next or from one website to the next, people will be confused.
All of your personal marketing communications must steadfastly convey your good fit for your target companies or organizations and be adjusted if your target audience changes.
Strong brands are always visible to their target audience.
This requires proactively staying top of mind with them through social media, real-life networking, and all other personal marketing efforts.
For instance, the immediacy of social media at sites like LinkedIn and Twitter allows you to constantly update your network and target audience in brand-reinforcing micro messages that increase your visibility and credibility.
With the 3 Cs under your belt, design a far-reaching personal brand communications plan that you can realistically manage and will keep you engaged. It may include social networking, blogging, speaking engagements, real-life networking through professional affiliations, publishing articles and white papers online and in print, and volunteering, to name a few.
Include in your routine regular monitoring of your online brand visibility (i.e., self-Googling) to assess the ongoing efficacy and viability of your plan.