Who makes your favourite shoes or outfits? Who are the actors (or directors) whose movies you make it a point to watch? Whose help do you seek when you want a project done?
All these questions involve your reactions to a particular brand — a collection of assumptions about quality, appeal and reliability that youve made in response to experience with a variety of products, people or services. Whether you like to think about it or not, there are people who think about your own brand of whatever you are and do.
International branding strategist Robin Fisher Roffer, author of Make a Name for Yourself, suggests eight steps to help people develop and project their own brands.
Points to ponder
Identify the primary product (service, resource or special ability) you have to offer others.
Identify your core values. What really matters to you?
Identify your passions. Which are the things or ideas you love?
Identify your talents. What have you always been recognised for (particularly as a kid)? What do you do better than most people? What skills do people seem to notice in you? lFrom your long list of talents and qualities, choose the top five, the ones you do best and enjoy doing the most.
Weave the items on your list into a statement of your speciality. What are you particularly gifted at delivering?
Write a paragraph emphasising your speciality and your five key talents, weaving in your most important values, passions and skills. Now add a tag line to your brand.
Whats your story?
A coach I know who helps six-figure earners work their way even further up the corporate ladder goes by this tag line — A coach for successful people to help them become even more successful. A senior project manager working in the crossfire between the marketing group and packaging designers at a stressful manufacturing facility has developed this tag line — An efficient problem solver who understands and enjoys both the creativity of designers and the practicality of marketers. My tag line for my counselling and coaching practice is this: A visionary realist to help you discover and manifest your dreams.
A tag lines shorthand helps other people remember a key point about you. At the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners breakfast meetings, every member and guest stands up and introduces herself via her tag line, or verbal business card. In this organisation, the women remember each others tag lines as easily as their names, and after each months meeting, hundreds of ripples go out about each of the women attending and what she has to offer. And it works for entrepreneurs and employees alike.
Get the Word Out
Once youve worked over your tag line and the other items on the list for a few days or weeks, its time to take them to the public with someone you trust. Keeping them secret is a sure way to never act on them.
The road to career disappointment is littered with lists, dreams and goals never shared with anyone. So, get your brand me musings out into the light of the day to solicit support and constructive criticism from someone else. And you could be a brand advisor for that person in return. It would be better if you could get four or five people together to encourage and critique each others branding strategies.
Creating your brand is an ongoing process. So, consider yourself and your career a work-in-progress, and reach out to get and give as much help as possible as your brand matures.