I am continually surprised to see people that have an opportunity to build a personal brand drop the ball. Taking the time to develop your own brand gives you an opportunity to focus on who you want the world to see and what you have to offer.
I was watching a video on Branding Yourself by Eric Thomas in which he explains how Michel Jordan hijacked the Nike brand to build his own brand. That is the key to branding. It’s not what you do it’s how you do it differently that is your brand message. Anyone can be a Realtor, a chef, a writer, a consultant but only you can be you.
So, let’s build your brand. Grab a blank piece of paper and draw lines separating it into three sections. Each section will answer a question.
Section 1: Who Am I?
Section 2: What Do I do?
Section 3: Who Do I Want to Be?
In the first section don’t just write your job title. Look a little deeper. For example, you are not just salesperson. You may be a parent, a member of a church choir, a coach of a Little League team, a husband, a wife, a writer of poetry, a Miami Dolphins fan, etc. By doing this you begin to see that you are not just your job title. You are an individual with your own talents, interests and skills.
Now, this second section sounds easy, doesn’t it? What do I do? You could answer by saying I write, I sell cars, I build widgets, whatever, right? Dig deeper. For example if you are realtor you could say I sell houses or you could dig deeper and write, I find houses and guide clients through the home buying or selling process and share my expertise of the real estate market and our area’s communities. Do that for each of the titles you gave yourself in step one. Let’s say you stated that you are an assistant coach on your daughter’s soccer team. Wouldn’t it be true that what you really do is help young people learn new skills, build their confidence and learn to work as a team? Doesn’t that sound better?
The next step is a very important idea. Who do you want to be? When you are building your brand you have the unique opportunity to recreate yourself. I don’t mean to falsely identify yourself or your skills but to take the sum of your parts and present yourself in a brand new package. You see detergent companies do this all the time. They take the same product and repackage it and then build an entire advertising campaign around their new look. This is what you are going to do. Think about where you want to be in five years. Do you want to work as a consultant for top tier companies? Do you want to create marketing materials for major clients? Do you want to sell $1 million plus in residential properties that year? Start thinking like you have already met that goal. Build your brand around that. What skills do you already have that you will need then? If you want to be taken seriously, take yourself seriously.
Here you are with 20 years of experience working in a specific industry and during that time you worked at many levels in the business and created a reputation for yourself, now you are retiring but you want to continue in a consultant capacity to others. When someone asks you what you do for a living, don’t just say, “I’m a consultant”. Take the opportunity to advertise yourself. Say something like,” I help businesses save money by creating inventory and sales programs that fit their individual needs.” These techniques can be built upon by developing your own “elevator speech”. That way you have a response that truly identifies what you offer.
Now once you have decided what your brand, start advertising yourself. Develop a cohesive image for yourself that you can reflect in all your marketing materials, on your website and across social media platforms. Develop a logo for yourself (or hire someone to do it). Your logo may be only your name but if it is presented in a visually appealing manner it will be memorable. Decide on a color palette. Keep everything as coordinated as possible. If you so not have graphic design experience ( and I am not talking about making church bulletins in PrintShop) HIRE ONE!!!! Hiring a good graphic designer is worth every penny.
Remember you are not selling your title. You are selling you. All of your experience, interests, successes and even your failures have developed the person behind your title and that is your brand. Sell it.
Great Branding Resources:
More Eric Thomas: