Although lots of people associate personal branding with the sexy stuff – speaking publicly, being featured in articles, publishing a Blog, there is an important part of the branding process that has to be achieved before all the visibility and accolades start rolling in. The first step? You must be clear about your unique promise of value – your brand.
Here are three important questions to answer before writing blogs, creating your video bio, or signing up to speak at your local professional association. Your brand lives at the intersection of your answers to these questions:
1. What makes me great?
Brands are built around superlatives. W has the hippest hotels. Volvo builds the safest cars. Apple is the most innovative. Paris is the world’s most romantic city. Nordstrom provides the best customer service.
What do you do better than anyone else? What’s your superpower? To find out, think about what’s innate: what are you naturally good at? What do people routinely ask you to help them with? If you exhibit your strengths regularly, ask the people who know you well. They can clue you in and help you discern your innate superpower. Sometimes we are so good at something and it comes to us so easily, we don’t realize how valuable it is to those around us.
2. What makes me unique?
If there is nothing unique about your strengths, you’re merely a commodity. You must know what makes you stand out from the myriad others who do what you do. It could be your point of view or your expertise in a niche area. It might be a personality characteristic, endemic trait or quirk. Or it could relate to how you get things done – your unique way of producing results. If what you do and how you do it are no different from everyone who shares your job title, you have very little leverage. Why would someone choose you over the others who share your capabilities?
To answer this question, try out this brief but insightful exercise: Get a sheet of paper and draw a line down the center vertically. On the top left, write SAME and on the top right, write DIFFERENT. Then, think about others who perform the same work as you, especially the ones who are striving for similar goals. In the left column, record what you have in common with them. You might include things like having the same degree, accumulating a similar number of years of experience, or having the same job title. Then on the right side, identify the traits and other concepts that differentiate you. You might include items like personality characteristics, life experiences, or communication styles. This brings to light the personal aspects of your identity that make you a unique individual.
3. What makes me compelling?
To answer this question, you first need to find out who needs to know you. Who is making decisions about you? Who can benefit from your services? Personal branding is not about being famous. It’s about being selectively famous. That means being known to just those people who need to know you so you can reach your goals. You would exhaust yourself if you tried to stay visible to everyone. Personal branding requires focus. And that focus should be aimed at your target audience. Your target audience is made up of decision makers, those who influence them, and the people you need to surround yourself with so you can deliver results for your company or clients.
Once you’re clear about your target audience, ask yourself, “Why would they become an ambassador for my brand? What would make them choose me, appreciate me, and promote me to others?” Look back at your answers to question 1 and to the items you included in the”different” column as you responded to exercise 2. Think about what makes you relevant and compelling to your target audience.
When you’ve carefully answered the questions, write your personal brand statement – a description of your unique promise of value: What you do, How you do it, and for whom, and what value is created when you do it. This is your personal brand statement. Post it where you will see it every day as a reminder of your unique promise of value.
With your personal brand statement in hand, you’re ready to get started on the sexy stuff!
By William Aruda Authour: , Ditch. Dare. Do! 3D Personal Branding for Executives.