Personal Branding Checklist
Personal branding is a continual process just as knowing yourself is a continual process
May. 27, 2008 03:30 PM
This is a checklist of items you need for an all-encompassing personal branding strategy. Personal branding is the process of marketing and selling yourself as a brand in order to gain success in business. Personal branding is a continual process just as knowing yourself is a continual process. As you grow, so does your brand. The need for personal branding arises from the fact that globalization has increased competition in the workplace. As the wheat is separated from the chaff, if you are left standing, you are left standing with others of good caliber. The playing field is now that much more challenging since your competition is as good as, or better, than you.
To paraphrase David Samuel, the bloke who got me into personal branding after I saw him speak a few years ago; he spoke about of why you need personal branding. His audience was a group from a large telecom:
"If we were to classify people based on aptitude, they are As, Bs, Cs, and Ds. Because of globalization the Cs and Ds have been outsourced. They're gone. All that's left is you. You are now in competition with a bunch of As and Bs. You are now clamoring for attention amongst a talented group of people. How do you now get noticed? How can you shine and be recognized for additional opportunities? How can you be successful when everyone around you is just as talented, or more so, than you? If everyone around you is capable and of A or B caliber, how do you compete with that?"
You build a personal brand and sell it. You sell not just yourself, but your brand, to your superiors, or clients in the case of contractors and consultants.
The same reason people buy Coke instead of Pepsi, or American Eagle instead of Abercrombie & Fitch where the products are extremely similar, is because of the brand. The public perception of the company's product is created and marketed in such a way as to enhance the product, or even be the product. Soda is soda, pop is pop for those of us with less-sensitive taste buds. The similarities end, however, when you compare Coke versus Pepsi. Even taste tests are meaningless; it's the brand that sells it.
Let's start with some brief definitions.
1 Know What You Want
One of the biggest problems with management is the delegation process; the process where someone in the position of authority asks someone else they are in charge of to accomplish a task. The delegation process is a series of steps that must be followed in order to ensure success. The first step is personal: "Know what you want." If you don't know what you want, you cannot articulate to others how to accomplish the task, because you don't know what it is. You are setting them up to fail because you cannot define success. If you don't know what you want, you'll be walking in aimlessly with no purpose.
Identify what you want, and start walking towards it.
2 Be Able to Articulate What You Do
By giving a clear, concise description of what you do, the other party immediately can identify an applicable value if any. If they are a potential employer or client, you want them to have this clear impression of you. If they don't have an immediate need for your skills, they may later. They will remember you and what you do later if you left a good and clear first impression. "I remember that networking engineer that I met at that conference; she'd be a good candidate for this opportunity."
The interest in what you do is at its apex when the other party asks; be ready to immediately answer, and thus take the most advantage of it. This also sometimes spawns additional conversation, which in turn leads to more rapport-building opportunities.
If you cannot articulate what you do, others will perceive it negatively. It doesn't matter if you're the hottest C++ programmer out there; if the other party doesn't get that from your description, they have no knowledge of that. They'll think things like: "He's some type of developer." If a C++ job comes up, they are more apt to immediately think of the person who accurately described that they coded C++ first.
"What do you do?"
"Yeah, I like do computer stuff..."
"What do you do?"
"I live, eat, and sleep programming in C."
In addition, not being able to articulate what you do presents a host of other negative perceptions. It makes you sound inarticulate. Communication is key in globalization and in business in general. It's a flawed process to begin with; someone who is good at it immediately has perceived value and personified charisma. Finally, trust is conveyed if you quickly and confidently describe what you do.
When someone asks what you do, answer them immediately with a clear, concise, and confident response.
3 Elevator Pitch
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