Your Brand, Your Story – Is your Personal Brand enabling your career? (Part 1 of 2)
Getting in front of the right person at the right time with the right message is a critical success factor in moving your career forward. You’ve heard the old saying “timing is everything” and it’s true – but – being in a prepared state when that timing comes along is even more important. This blog is the first of a two part series, and will provide some background on branding in general and provide context as to why a Personal Brand is important.
What is a brand?
The word “brand” comes from the Norse word meaning “to burn” and originates from the branding of cattle. It was intended to be a distinct marking that helped distinguish one animal from the other. So what’s in a “brand” today? It is not as much about the logo or tagline, as it is about the promise that it makes. When it comes to Product Branding, a corporation’s Brand delivers a Brand Promise – whether that is safety, reliability, luxury, quality, comfort, status, value etc. The Brand makes a commitment to its customers, one that it must deliver on consistently in order to gain and maintain the trust of its consumers. When this is achieved, the Brand increases in value. Brand Value can actually be measured in dollars where part of the value is derived from consumer perception of the brand. Coincidentally, a higher brand value typically results in premium pricing.
Think of your favorite brand. What does it promise to you?
The best brands deliver on their Brand Promise in every customer interaction. The Brand Promise is so solid that consumers develop expectations for the brand. They trust that the brand will deliver on those expectations every time. As a result, these loyal customers, are more likely to talk about the brand and they become brand loyalists and vocal brand advocates. This provides the brand with a form of word-of-mouth marketing that money can’t buy.
So what does this have to do with the brand called “Me”?
You have a Personal Brand today, right now – whether you acknowledge it or not! If I were to reach out to your professional network for feedback about you, everyone could provide a perspective. Based on that information, I could quite easily assess your Personal Brand. Your Personal Brand is about who you are, the skills and experiences you bring, and where you’re going. It defines you as a person and illustrates to others what makes you uniquely you. The more people that are talking about you, the stronger your Brand. And the more consistency in what they are saying about you, the stronger your Brand.
Why does a strong Personal Brand matter?
Talent searches today occur in the global marketplace. You are no longer competing in a narrow local geography like Canada, you are competing across the world because recruiters are searching the world for talent. You and your degree have become a commodity with very little differentiation between one graduate and another. There are lots of look-alikes out there, and therefore, there are a lot of unemployed, highly educated young people out there too. I have to wonder whether they have differentiated themselves in the marketplace, whether they have developed a strong Brand, whether they have marketed that Brand? What will you do?
Where do I start?
The starting point is to know yourself. We are all a product of many different variables: family heritage, upbringing, education, geography, family size, crucible events, mentors, and there are many more. We are each an absolutely unique individual. There is no one else on the planet exactly like You. And it is this unique You that needs to be discovered and branded. By looking at You through the following three lenses, you can start to shape your brand, your story.
- Values and Talents
- Interests and Experiences
- Goals and Aspirations
When you layer these facts, a Personal Brand emerges that expresses the Unique You. Then you also have the ability to create a brand story that you can share with your network. With a strong Brand and a good Story, the chances of finding your ideal career increases!
This blog continues here.