Corporate entities understand the importance of branding. Surprisingly, most people do not recognize the importance of branding themselves. In today’s competitive environment, it is important to create your own brand. It is a critical component to your success. If done well, it will open doors for you and create lasting impressions on those you come into contact with.
Always remember: If you don’t brand yourself, someone else will brand you… and the outcome might not be what you would like it to be.
You can be sure that not everyone knows who you are or what you do. Worse, it is highly likely that people may have already formed their own perceptions of who you are without your direct input. By developing your own specific brand, you establish that you are unique in your own right, as well as gaining control over alternate perceptions.
Take a lesson from the big brands – Apple, Nike, Starbucks (you get the picture…) – a lesson that’s true and relevant for anyone who is interested in standing above and prospering in today’s ever-evolving business environment: It doesn’t matter how old you are, what your position is, or which business you happen to be in – you need to understand the importance of branding. Without branding, there is nothing to set you apart from the rest – perceptions of mediocrity are likely to infiltrate. Appropriate branding ensures you are perceived as an important asset.
YOU are the product. Everything you do affects your brand. Defining yourself as a valuable asset will add value to your position. It will ensure your business revolves around you – making you irreplaceable. You will be recognized for who you are, but more importantly, what you do.
Through personal branding, you define who you want to be, grow in the direction you want to grow and have the opportunity to improve your overall standings in the rankings. To be successful in business today, your most important job is to be the CMO for the brand called YOU. Are you a brand worthy of comment?
So, what does building your brand look like? This may seem simple, but it is not always easy…
First of all – start thinking differently! You do not belong to any company and your main affiliation is not to any function. You are not defined by your job title or confined by your position description – You are Brand YOU! In order to start thinking of yourself as your own CMO, ask yourself the same question that top brand managers at major corporations ask themselves:
What makes my products or services different?
Challenge yourself to answer this question in less than 25 words. Write your answer. Read it several times. If your answer wouldn’t excite a client, command a vote of confidence from the people who work with you or for you (or those you work for)… or, worst of all, if it doesn’t convince you… you’ve got a big problem. It’s time to give some serious thought and effort to understanding and developing yourself as a brand.
Start by answering these follow-on questions:
- What make you distinctive from your colleagues — or your competition?
- What have you done recently to make yourself stand out?
- How do you promote yourself?
- What would your colleagues or customers say is your greatest and clearest strength?
- What is your most notable personal trait?
Answer these questions and build on them and you have begun to build your personal brand…
You can also use the standard model most corporations take to creating a brand, leveraging a concept known as feature-benefit. It dictates that every feature in a product or service yields an identifiable and distinguishable benefit for the customer or client. If you were to apply this model to your brand, what would you discover?
By making the effort to go through the above exercises, you will not only be actively optimizing every opportunity to seize new ground, you will also be going through an exercise of self-discovery. In addition, you will find that by defining and developing your explicit brand, you will be making significant contributions to your organization’s success.
It is always important to have the capacity to self promote in order to give your skills the recognition they deserve and provide a platform for people to trust and admire you. Once people know your brand they can begin to trust in you and your expertise – good branding means they never forget what you have to offer. Branding yourself isn’t as much about who you are as an individual, but more about what you bring to the table.
Branding yourself allows you to define who you are and establishes you as the expert in your field. Everyone wants to know someone who is perceived as bringing value and getting results. If you don’t tell people what you have to offer and self-promote effectively, they have no way of knowing. The myth that people will see what you do on their own and recognize you for your efforts, is for the most part just that – a myth.
By branding yourself as an expert and explicitly defining your personal strengths, you automatically receive status. Whether you maintain the image that your branding creates… well, that’s up to you…
Offer your expertise, break from the status quo, and create a unique representation ~ your brand will flourish.
What Is Your Brand?
Please engage the discussion and let us know how you have successfully branded yourself. Always feel free to contact me atSheri.Mackey@LuminosityGlobal.com or by visiting our website at www.LuminosityGlobal.com. Check back next week for the next installment of Leadership Across Boundaries and Borders.