Although I’ve been helping my clients define their personal brand value since I began writing resumes nearly 20 years ago – long before the world heard the phrase “personal branding” in 1997 in Tom Peters’ article ‘The Brand Called You’ in Fast Company – I’m always refining and improving my process.
To enhance my expertise, I’m pursuing the Reach Certified Personal Branding Strategist credential and should have it under my belt in a week or so.
William Arruda who, with Kirsten Dixson, innovated the Reach programs and co-authored the book “Career Distinction: Stand Out By Building Your Brand”, commented on a blog recently:
Going through the personal branding process helps you understand who you are, what you want and what value you can provide to others. Focusing on your personal brand is critical because it keeps you on track. When you know what your unique promise of value is, you integrate it into everything you do – adding value to those around you while enhancing your own visibility.
Knowing what is authentic to you, differentiating from your peers and relevant and compelling to your target audience is critical. What makes you unique, makes you successful. That’s what personal branding is all about.
The process takes time, and being introspective and digging deep was somewhat painful for me, but ultimately eye-opening, affirming, and energizing.
A lot of hard work is involved in uncovering your brand reputation and bringing it all together in a clear marketing message. Here’s a bare-bones rundown of the exercises I’ve gone through in the program:
1. What are your vision and purpose?
Before clearly defining your brand, look externally at the bigger picture of your vision for the world, and then internally, at how you might help the world realize your vision.
2. What are your values and passions?
You have to know yourself and what you want and need before you can move forward. Your belief system and operating principles are at the core of determining whether an opportunity in front of you will be a good fit for you. If the passions that drive you aren’t met, you probably won’t be happy.
3. What are your top goals for the next year, 2 years, and 5 years?
Work on projecting what you intend to accomplish so you can put together a strategic action plan to get there.
4. Do a self-assessment of your top brand attributes.
What 3 or 4 adjectives best describe the value you offer? What words do you use to define your personality?
5. What are your core strengths?
At what functions and responsibilities do you excel? What things are you the designated “go-to” person for? What would the company have a hard time replacing if you left suddenly?
6. Get feedback from those who know you best – at work, at home, anywhere.
Ask them what your top brand attributes and core strengths are. How does your self-assessment jibe with their feedback?
7. Do a SWOT (Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities – Threats) analysis on yourself.
Don’t dwell on your weak points, but keep them in mind so that you don’t move into a position where that function is the main thrust of the job.
8. Who is your target audience?
Determine who you want to attract so you can find out where they hang out and what words will attract them, and then position yourself in front of them.
9. Who is your competition and what differentiates you from them?
Determine why decision makers should choose whatever you’re offering over the others offering similar value. What value will you bring that no one else will? What makes you the best choice?
10. Remember the 3 Cs of personal branding:
- Clarity – be clear about who you are and who you are not.
- Consistency – steadfastly express your brand across all communications vehicles.
- Constancy – strong brands are always visible to their target audience.
In the end, your goal is to bring everything together, linking your key personal brand attributes, strengths, and passions to your value proposition, in a neat package that showcases your unique promise of value and resonates with your target audience.
I synthesized all the pieces in my personal brand bio, which includes my personal brand statement.
Are you ready to dig deep and uncover your personal brand promise of value?