Thursday, March 6, 2014

4 Essentials of the Game

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
 Maya Angelou

Your Personal Brand

We are all guilty of wearing this or that brand of running shoes, wearing this or that brand of clothing, carrying that special brand of pocketbook or driving this or that make of vehicle.  We are branded in some way by the products we choose.  What about your personal brand?  What does it tell others about you?  Regardless of your status, your age, gender, ethnicity, race, or position we all have a personal brand that identifies who we are.  Whether you are an employee or business owner your most important job is to be head marketer in charge of your personal brand. 

In today’s world of global corporations and workplaces personal branding has become a hot topic, but most do not understand what it really means.  Nor, do most understand how to leverage their personal brand to achieve the career they most desire.  How you are perceived by management, peers, colleagues, potential clients or possible employers has a direct impact on potential promotions, better clients, being hired or a successful career.  If you desire greater control over your career then you must define and understand your personal brand – yes you must be willing to actually market yourself.  Many of us market or brag about others or we fight the good fight for a special cause.  However, many are consumed by concerns of sounding fake and are stopped in their tracks when it comes to promoting themselves.  Having a personal brand without marketing it is like Ford having a great new Mustang, but no one knows about it.  Just as important as product brands, personal brands create value when marketed well.

The following are four areas that can help you increase your personal brand.

Identify

Let people know the value you bring by communicating the skills, experience and intrinsic value you provide to your employer, potential employer or clients.  The value you bring to the table is a unique blend of strengths, experiences, professional accomplishments and personal traits.  The values combined identify the “You” which is unique from your colleagues, peers or other job applicants.

Message

Having a concise and compelling message helps others to identify what you stand for.  Just going through the motions without a message makes it next to impossible to have a positive personal brand.  Everything you do whether in the office, shopping, at a friend’s birthday party or your child’s soccer game your actions send a message as to who you are.  The perception others have of you, “Your Message”, is shaped through your words, actions, presentations, reports, deliverables, accomplishments and much more.  What does your message say about you?  Does your message say that you are smart, strategic, on time, dependable, an expert, a leader, a good person or to stay clear?  Whatever you are striving to achieve, your message should be loud and clear.

Promote

There are many ways to promote “You” and your personal brand; however, I believe it’s time for a change in mindset.  Many believe that marketing a personal brand has everything to do with self-promotion.  Consider this – if I say “You should hire me because I am the best blog writer you will find.”  I am certain you will have thoughts about that statement and my credibility.  I am not even comfortable making that claim but say it with the belief that I must self promote.  It will not work even if I say it with great passion.  However, if I say “I am passionate about writing articles that explore the human experiences that help us all become better individuals” my statement is no longer self promoting.  The first statement was about me and only me.  The second statement demonstrates how I serve others.  When promoting yourself it is important to share yourself and to believe in your message, it makes you credible to your audience.

Your Circle

No one knows you better than your family and friends.  Keep them informed about “You” and “Your Message”.  The old saying goes “out of sight out of mind”.  If you are looking for employment why not enlist people who can best help you find what you are looking for.  “Your Circle” is your support system and the career influencers who can make a difference.  Focus your energy on those who can hire you, promote you, inspire you, teach you or open the doors to new opportunities.  If you want the big promotions, the best clients, or a successful career “Your Circle” should include people who value and appreciate your personal brand.  Most importantly, nurture and value relationships with these people especially the ones who are willing to market your personal brand – the ones who can provide you a blueprint, the guidance or inspiration to advance in a successful career.

You are a brand.  You own and are in charge of your personal brand.  It’s up to you how you want your personal brand to be recognized.  There is no right or wrong “You” brand rather just the “You” brand others perceive.

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