As you manage your career, you need to use your personal brand pitch to manage your reputation before others define who you are.
If you do not define your reputation, then you run the risk of the possibility that others will define you. And you might not like it. One of the most frustrating things I experienced was short-sighted people who attempted to define me. “You are a CPG marketer” or “you are a creative marketer, or you lack this experience or that industry. I took control and defined myself with how I wished to see myself in the future.
What is your 7-second personal brand pitch?
A typical marketing job interview starts with you waiting in the lobby longer than you wanted. Then the big introduction, the handshake, that awkward small-talk on the way to the tiny little room where all you can think to talk about is the weather or you find a great parking spot. Then you sit down, and outcomes that dreaded question, “So, tell me about yourself.”
Oh god we all hate that question. “Ummm, let me see, I like basketball, walks in the park and I think I’m rather funny, or at least my wife does.” Wow, bad start.
Then you get asked a series of 8-10 questions like “tell me a time when…”. And finally, they end the interview with, “Anything else to add?” You say, “No, it’s all good.” Then there is that awkward walk back to the reception desk, where you talk about your plans for the weekend. Then you drive home and realize you forgot to mention your three most significant career accomplishments. Even though you are a marketer, you forgot to act like a marketer, and most importantly, you forgot to define and deliver your brand.
You have just blown your interview.
Tell me about yourself: Deliver your 7-second idea
“As a brand leader, I find growth where others couldn’t, and I create a motivated brand team that delivers great work to drive results.” Think of this like your 7-second personal brand pitch, where you give a summation of your personal brand idea.
Four Questions to define your personal brand
- How do you define yourself, by where in the marketplace you see yourself having the biggest impact?
- What is the primary benefit you provide your target, whether they are potential prospects?
- What is the secondary benefit you provide your target, whether they are potential prospects?
- What is the expected result you deliver, that matches up to your target’s potential goals?
Brand idea brainstorm
Look at your resume and then start off by brainstorming as many options for each of the four areas as you can.
- Short definition
- Primary benefit
- Secondary benefit
- Expected result
This model is a great way to summarize yourself, based on what you have done over the last few years. Make sure your definitions are more forward-looking with an aspiration for what you want to be, not stuck in what you have been. Once you get that done, you can then begin to piece it all together and see what your own 7-second pitch might start to look like. Keep tightening that pitch until it flows.
Nailing your 7-second personal brand pitch
In my 20 years of CPG marketing, I became the turnaround guy, so “As a brand leader, I can find growth where others couldn’t” became my little hook I began to use. What is yours?
Once you feel comfortable with your 7-second pitch, take each of those four statement areas and try to come up with examples and stories from your past that can prove and demonstrate each element of the statement. These examples help define your 30-minute pitch, and enable you to tell your story in a more focused and expressive manner.
Building out your 30-minute brand story
Using these examples, you can any of the “so tell me a time when…” type questions. If these are your best 10 accomplishments, then you should refer to these to help demonstrate your brand idea. This is also a great page that you can be looking at when you are sitting in the reception area, just before your interview.
So here’s how the interview should go:
- “So tell me about yourself”: Deliver your 7-second pitch.
- “Tell me about a time when you…”: Deliver any of the ten examples from your 30-minute pitch.
- “Anything to add?”: Repeat your 7-second pitch as the closing line.
This way, you are now controlling up front how you want to define yourself. All 8-10 examples will help add to that definition. And as you get to the end, you want to use a 7-second close to re-affirm your big idea.
Later on, as the various interviewers re-group to discuss each person, you hope your big idea sticks in their head. “I like Bob because he could turn this brand around. He has done it before. He gets results”.
Lead everything with your 7-second personal brand pitch
Use your 7-second pitch at the top of your resume, your descriptor for your LinkedIn profile, your handshake introduction at networking meetings, or within the body of any emails that you send looking for jobs. The more you use it, the more you begin to make this your reputation.
Use your 30-minute pitch to fill out the examples on your LinkedIn profile and keep them at the tip of your tongue to be used as examples of your past, in how it lines up to deliver your personal brand idea.
Use your personal brand idea to establish consistency across every media choice you use
In today’s cluttered media world, use your personal brand idea to help organize all types of marketing communication efforts, including your brand story, sales material, networking, creating your own home page or blog, managing the search of yourself, portraying your personal brand through social media, and looking to establish yourself through any influence marketing.
When telling your brand story, you now have many media options available, including white papers, blog posts, LinkedIn updates, networking meetings or look to delivering presentations at industry events. Tell the same brand story, with consistent layers of brand messaging. There is nothing wrong with repetition, especially if you are using various media options to make it more engaging.
Be careful what topics (politics, sports, gossip) you decide to shoot your mouth off might feel therapeutic to you, but could damage your reputation longer term, not just with those who don’t share your views, but even those who do. They might feel you are toxic or alienating to be associated with. Creating your personal brand is hard. Staying on brand in the modern social media world is even harder.
Read our article about how to build your personal brand positioning
Best of luck to you as you manage your marketing career
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