June 16, 2013
How to Manage Your Personal Brand
There is a growing trend in the market to think of yourself as a Brand. With so much social media, I suppose we all need to watch how we project ourselves into the market. My hope is you can use this discussion to begin projecting your own brand, whether that’s to start a business, influence others in your community, manage your on-line image or land a great job.
What is your Unique Selling Proposition?
Love what you do: The first step to finding your personal fulfillment by matching up what you love with what your good at. You have to understand not just at the macro level (Lawyer, Advertising, Marketing, PR) but also at the micro level (presentation skills, writing, creativity, dealing with people etc). Just because you are good at something, doesn’t mean you should make a career of it, especially if you don’t love it. The flip side is while you can follow your passion, you might cap out if you don’t have the talent. If only I could run, jump, and shoot, I’d be in the NBA for sure.
Just how you frame a brand to focus on the consumer, the same thinking should go into your personal brand. Start with your target: it could be a potential employer, investors, customers or peers in your network. Then match up your strengths, passions and assets to what that potential target would want. What is your customer value proposition? Put yourself in the mind of your end target and speak in terms of what they get. Look at what you do, and then as them, keep asking “so what do I get” and force the things you do into benefits for them. Then, still in their shoes, ask “so how does this make me feel?” In what ways is this story unique? Try to find that separation point where you do it, but not the average Joe can do the same thing. So from this exercise list out “What do you do” and this becomes your brand offering or your brand promise.
Vision and Purpose
For your brand vision, think of a time frame that is the next 5-10 years. Where do you want to be? What would you like to accomplish? Think of big goals, far beyond the year at hand, forcing you to think beyond and helps frame what you want to do and why you’re doing what you are doing. This should give you a motivating context to why you are investing so much effort in making yourself better.
Your purpose should answer why do you do what you do? Why do you get up in the morning? Why did you choose this profession? Why did you get into this business or career? I find you have to keep asking this question because every time you ask it again, it becomes even richer and deeper. The first few answers are usually just on the surface and total B.S. motherhood statements that sound like a politician steering through the middle ground. No one will connect with that. Go deeper and keep asking yourself “why do I do this?” It has to be rich, personal, meaningful and motivating.
What is your Brand DNA? What is it that is inside you that you want to bring out into a single DNA statement? And from there, what are the pillars of your brand, that support and align to your DNA statement. You should look at how you project outward to customers, investors, prospective employers as well as inward whether that’s to your staff, supporters or even your own motivations. Push yourself to look to 3 or 4 support stories that help frame your DNA. This will make the DNA come to life and be even more powerful. This is how I see the Brand DNA for my personal brand–Beloved Brands Inc. It’s all about “We challenge your current thinking”. If I don’t do that, through this blog, via training sessions or strategy workshops then I am not living up to my Brand DNA.
Build a series of defining moments from your life that help tell your story. What were the triggers that got you here? What was your biggest failure or ‘ah-ha’ moment. When you look back, what are the moments and what were you thinking at that time? How did these events affect you? Find 3 or 4 key defining moments that help support and build your brand. One of the defining moments I always tell is when one of my brand managers came into see me to try to get my approval on a small tactical print ad. I didn’t know much about the ad, because it was a small ad, on a small budget. But here I was, ready to approve. I looked down and saw something so boring. It was likely on strategy, but it would never capture anyone’s attention, it would never drive anyone’s desire, and most importantly no one would love the brand. It was just awful. But I’ve always prided myself at being a believer in the bottom up approach to management. I couldn’t crap all over it. So we both sat in silence as I stared down at the ad in front of me. I didn’t know what to say, I wasn’t sure I could really even give feedback on how to making it better. So I asked one of the best questions I’ve ever asked in my life. I said “do you love it?” The brand manager shrugged his shoulder said “no, not really. It’s ok” And that was one of the worst answers I had ever heard. I slid it back across the table and said “bring me back something you love”. And from there, the motto for Beloved Brands Inc was born which defines how I see brands: “If you don’t love the work you do, how do you expect the consumer to love your brand?”
What is your experience?
How do you tell your experience in a way that makes you seem like you fit with your target? Remember how you put yourself in their shoes to project what you do, now keep doing that as you tell your story. Everyone needs a tightly worded bio.
If you can create a “reputation” what do you think it would be, and how does that tie into your story. You can’t really dispute someone’s projected reputation, it becomes part of the story you might tell about yourself. For me, the reputation I am building is: We have a reputation for finding growth where others can’t, whether that’s on a turnaround, re-positioning, new launch or sustaining success.
What are your views? These are quotes that help you to project your opinion. They should fit with your brand. If people were to read these they would align to your thinking. Or not. Everyone is a walking opinion and we have to know what your opinion is. Do you have a theory or belief that you want to blow out and have everything link to. For me, my idea is the more beloved a brand, the more powerful, the more profitable that brand will be. I use Apple as the lead brand to support this story.
What are the views of others: Get key influencers to provide you with a recommendation of support of you. Make sure they are real, and even push them to match up the story you wish to tell.
Where and How will you tell this story
Pick the social media options that best tell the story. Stay focused because on your own, trying to be everywhere can exhaust you. Do you have a blog? You have to at least write weekly. What is your 1 or 2 key social media sites. If it’s fairly B2B or Career oriented, then LinkedIn is amazing, or if you’ve got visual demos then Pintrest or Facebook are great vehicles. Twitter is becoming the reality of everyone with an opinion. One caution is to keep your twitter feed at least 90% consistent and focused. And only 10% fun.
Network in a very personal and authentic way to build your brand. Most people are bad at networking, bad at staying in touch. This creates a huge opportunity for you to do it better than everyone else. Add personal touches, whether that means coffee, personalized notes or coffees. With the digital world we live in, we still have needs for serotonin. A 15 minute catch up can do wonders for people. A personalized note just feels good. What’s your communication package look like? Think of it like a leave behind: what story would you leave behind. Yes, the resume is obvious, but what else would you leave behind. Create one. If you’re looking to get into marketing, do up a brand plan for a charity and leave it behind at an interview. Do up your business card, a brochure. Vista print is so cheap these days and a site like Moo.com offers even more innovative options.
And lastly, over-delivering your promise and creating a memorable experience will lead to word of mouth, increased support for you and what you want to accomplish. Leadership is not about being ahead of everyone else, it’s about when you look around and you see people following.
LOVE WHAT YOU DO. LIVE WHY YOU DO IT.
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- How to Write a Brand Plan: The positioning statement helps frame what the brand is all about. However, the brand plan starts to make choices on how you’re going to make the most of that promise. Follow this hyperlink to read more on writing a Brand Plan: How to Write a Brand Plan
- Turning Brand Love into Power and Profits: The positioning statement sets up the promise that kick starts the connection between the brand and consumer. There are four other factors that connect: brand strategy, communication, innovation and experience. The connectivity is a source of power that can be leveraged into deeper profitability. To read more click on the hyper link: Love = Power = Profits
I run the Brand Leader Learning Center, with programs on a variety of topics that are all designed to make better Brand Leaders. To read more on how the Learning Center can help you as a Brand Leader click here: Brand Leadership Learning Center
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About Graham Robertson: The reason why I started Beloved Brands Inc. is to help brands realize their full potential value by generating more love for the brand. I only do two things: 1) Make Brands Better or 2) Make Brand Leaders Better. I have a reputation as someone who can find growth where others can’t, whether that’s on a turnaround, re-positioning, new launch or a sustaining high growth. And I love to make Brand Leaders better by sharing my knowledge. I’m a marketer at heart, who loves everything about brands. My background includes 20 years of CPG marketing at companies such as Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer Consumer, General Mills and Coke. My promise to you is that I will get your brand and your team in a better position for future growth. Add me on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/grahamrobertson1 so we can stay connected.