Personal Branding & Executive Branding
What is Personal Branding?
With all the misinformation swirling around out there about personal branding, it’s no wonder that many of the c-suite executives I talk with are confused about what branding actually is.
I compared the misinformation with the straight skinny in my blog post, What Personal Branding is NOT.
The good news. You already have a brand. Your brand is your reputation – the things you’re known for. The things people count on you to deliver.
Simply put, your brand is the unique set of qualifications, strengths, key personal attributes, values, and passions representing your promise of value to your target audience or, in the case of job seekers, your target employers.
To resonate with your target audience, your brand must be designed with their needs in mind.
Make no mistake. In today’s executive job search landscape, branding is required, not optional.
The phrase “personal branding” was coined in 1997 by Tom Peters in his 1997 article “The Brand Called You” over at Fast Company.
Here’s what he had to say:
“You’re every bit as much a brand as Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop. To start thinking like your own favorite brand manager, ask yourself the same question the brand managers at Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop ask themselves: What is it that my product or service does that makes it different?
We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. Create a message and a strategy to promote the brand called You.”
According to personal branding pioneer William Arruda, who created the Reach Certified Personal Branding Strategist program:
“Your brand is held in the hearts and minds of those around you.
Personal Branding is a way of clarifying and communicating what makes you different and special – and using those qualities to guide your career or business decisions. It’s about understanding your unique attributes – your strengths, values, and passions – and using them to separate yourself from your competitors or peers.
In this sense, personal branding means clearly communicating the unique promise of value that you have to offer your employer or your clients.”
Why Branding Is So Important in Executive Job Search:
- The branding process helps you (and me, as your writer) understand your ROI value to your target companies and what differentiates you from your competition in the job market.
- The branding process helps you clearly communicate your value and good fit qualities when you network and interview.
- Branding helps you stand out above your competition in your career marketing materials (resume, biography, online profiles, etc.).
- Branding generates chemistry for who you are, what you’re like to work with, how you make things happen, and what you have to offer that no one else does.
Executive Personal Branding vs Career Branding
Let’s add to the confusion and throw “career branding” into the mix.
Although often used interchangeably, there is a simple distinction between personal and career branding.
Personal branding represents what is authentic about your personality and character, and reflects the perception of you held by the external world. Your personal brand generally does not change as you progress through your career, from job to job and employer to employer.
Career branding goes a bit further. Your career brand is your differentiator in the business world and defines your unique promise of value in the marketplace and to employers.
Because it meshes personal attributes with business attributes, career branding relies on first defining your personal brand – the passions, strengths, values, and personal characteristics that drive you.
Designed to resonate with your specific target audience, your career brand may change with each career move, to align with marketplace and employer needs and attract a new set of key hiring decision makers.
So, we collaborate on defining your personal brand first, then delve into linking your personal attributes with business attributes and good-fit qualities to define your career brand.
The Branding Process
Based on my Reach Certification training and my precision, value-driven writing perfected over a 20 year resume writing career and training to earn the Master Resume Writer credential, I’ve developed a collaborative personal and career branding process for my clients.
Together my clients and I define their unique set of passions, personal attributes, differentiators, strengths, and drivers. I put my clients at ease to dig deep, open up, and pinpoint what is authentically “them”. I ask the right questions and synthesize the best they have to offer into a clear brand message that speaks from their own voice, and is designed to resonate with their specific target audience.
I offer my clients the choice of two personal brand assessment methods:
1. 360°Reach™ Premium Personal Brand Assessment, Positioning and Development. More about 360˚Reach.
2. Personal Brand Assessment, Positioning and Development with my Personal Brand Worksheet.
You choose which one works best for your needs.
After defining and developing branding and career marketing communications — resume, bio, etc. — my clients and I work on building their online identity and reputation by leveraging several tools — LinkedIn, VisualCV, Google Profile, ZoomInfo Profile, Twitter, blogging, etc.
Read more about how these services work.
My clients have told me that the executive personal and career branding process:
- Invigorated them and bolstered their confidence in their unique value in the marketplace.
- Fortified them with a clearer focus on where they were going next and how to get there.
- Energized them for their job search journey.
- Armed them with razor-sharp, brand-driven marketing communications that differentiated them from their competition and resonated with their target audience.
Still don’t quite understand what branding is all about?
For a detailed breakdown of what makes a powerful executive brand, see my blog post 10 Steps to an Authentic, Magnetic Personal Brand: The Executive Personal Brand Worksheet.