If you want to accelerate your career in 2015, then start thinking of yourself as a Brand

Posted on Posted in How to Guide for Marketers

How come you do such a good job marketing brands, but a bad job marketing yourself? At this time of year, it is natural to think about what’s next in your career.

Most brand leaders I see tend to only go after those jobs that come to them, relying on being called by a recruiter or seeing postings on job sites. That’s how 16 year olds look for a summer job, not how leaders manage their careers. Other brand leaders take a “selling approach” where they apply to as many jobs as they see (even if they aren’t their ideal jobs) and hope for the best, treating the job like the prize instead of believing they are the prize. That’s more selling than marketing.  Why not treat yourself like a brand?

Start by analyzing your strengths

I believe in the idea of loving what you do and living why you do it. The tool below can be used to help you find that sweet spot that matches what you are good at with what you love. Too many people build their career on what they are good at–they did well in accounting so they became an accountant. But that is a recipe for spending 40 years in a career you don’t really like. On the other hand, going after what you love, without the talent can be a pipe-dream you never achieve.

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The advantage of using this type of tool is that it allows you to re-define yourself away from job titles. For instance, in my career I was always better at marketing communications than I was at product innovation–which has my consulting career focused on finding that winning brand positioning, creating brand concepts and acting as an advertising coach. But I won’t be inventing the next app or gadget anytime soon.

The next tool to use is the personal strength finder.  This model helps you to force some choices.  The idea is that for each of the 4 options below, only one can be considered HIGH, two at the MIDDLE score and you have to force yourself to put one at the LOW.  While we all say we are generalists, that’s never really true. I’ve met many that are OK at all 4, but have never met anyone great at all. This tool forces you to be one of four types of Brand Leaders: 

  1. Managing Products
  2. Creating Ideas
  3. Strategic Thinking
  4. Leadership of People.

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Find your Unique Selling Proposition

Just like the brands you manage, take the analysis above to start forming a brand positioning for yourself that makes you stand out as unique. As a marketer you start with what consumers look for, so what you want to do is try to understand what employers are looking for. You need to find that USP that matches up the employer needs up to your strengths where you are better than your peers. 

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Once you find your USP, find a way to turn it into a big idea. As I reached senior levels in marketing, I knew I was better at strategy/communication, better at brand turnarounds and had an a more aggressive type leadership style. When I looked at what employers were looking for, it matched up nicely to brands looking to re-invigorate growth on their brands. I positioned myself as “I can find growth where others couldn’t” knowing the only reason an employer would bring in someone from the outside is the previous leader couldn’t figure it out. As I’ve moved into consulting, my current big idea (below) is “provoking you to think differently” believing that a client needs new thinking, because the thinking that brought you this far might not be enough to get you where you want your brand to be.

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Map out a Brand Plan for yourself

I bet you don’t have a brand plan. Why not? Use the time over the break to start mapping out your own brand plan and you might be surprised where this disciplined approach takes you. Write a vision for yourself by thinking about where you want to be in the next 10 years. Reach down deep to create a purpose for yourself supported by a list of values that are important to you. Set goals for yourself in 2015, and list out the potential strategies and tactics you’ll use to accelerate your career in the right direction. 

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Treat yourself like a Brand and use marketing fundamentals to manage your career

To read more, including looking at a deep dive assessment of your personal situation and how to create your own Brand, follow this Powerpoint presentation:

At Beloved Brands, we love to see Brand Leaders reach their full potential.  Here are the most popular article “How to” articles.  We can offer specific training programs dedicated to each topic.  Click on any of these most read articles:

We make brands better.

We make brand leaders better.™

We offer brand coaching, where we promise to make your brand better by listening to the issues, providing advice that challenges you, and coaching you along a strategic pathway to reaching your brand’s full potential. For our brand leader training, we promise to make your team of brand leaders better, by teaching sound marketing fundamentals and challenging to push for greatness so that they can unleash their full potential. Feel free to add me on Linked In, or follow me on Twitter at @belovedbrands If you need to contact me, email me at graham@beloved-brands.com or phone me at 416 885 3911

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