Companies spend enormous resources to brand products and services to attract customers. As business owners, managers and employees we also need to brand ourselves to support our ongoing success. When you have developed an effective, compelling personal brand, you are helping others in and outside your company get to know your value and expertise. You are taking a major step that will strengthen your career and uncover new opportunities in work and other areas of your life.
Personal branding is describing who you are. When you are asked about what you do and what you have achieved, your reply is branding. Now we are going to spend some time considering how we respond to these questions to create a more impressive message delivered with confidence and spontaneity. Once your branding message is developed you can use it in presentations, interviews, social gatherings and network events. You never know who you will meet at any time so being prepared is worth the small effort to get your branding right.
We recommend you create two branding messages. The first one describes the work you do and the second one highlights your accomplishments and expertise. In this exercise, do not be tempted to accept the first messages that come to mind. Your goal is having refined and accurate responses to ensure they are understood and have impact.
Branding message 1: This is what I do. Create a statement that describes your job, the type of work you do and the results you deliver. Here are a few tips:
- describe what you achieve in your job.
- how do you contribute to your business, team or company on a daily basis. You may use another timeframe if more appropriate.
- try not to use your job title. Job titles may be specific to an organisation and not accurately reflect your real brand.
Branding message 2: This is what I have achieved. This message describes your projects, accomplishments and areas of speciality or expertise. Here are some tips:
- consider your entire work career when assessing your major accomplishments.
- look at your work in the perspective of projects. This can help define your achievements.
- do not discount any areas of expertise or speciality. People often discount the expertise they have developed and do not fall into this trap.
Your message needs to have some attributes to make it effective and memorable. Here are some quick pointers to help you out:
- Be descriptive to avoid being bland. Try to paint a picture of what you do and what you have achieved. You can use locations, work environments, descriptions of clients or colleagues etc.
- Make sure your message will be understood by people outside your profession or industry.
- Use only enough words to achieve a great message and no more. Each message should take no longer than 30 seconds to deliver. Therefore both messages will take 60 seconds maximum to delier dn in a conversation that can seem like a long time. In a presentation, a 60 second bio is not uncommon.
- You must commit the time to make your messages interesting and if possible exciting. It may be easier to make your projects and accomplishments more exciting than your job. Avoid being too timid with your branding messages; they alway sound more ‘out there’ when you say them to yourself than they will when spoken to others.
- Focus on results. What happens when you work during the day? What impacts are you having? Are people getting trained? Are sales increasing? Is production more efficient? You can choose one to three, after that is becomes too much to communicate.
- As you write your messages, stop occasionally and rehearse each one. Do this individually but also rehearse with a friend or colleague who can offer constructive feedback and ideas. When you speak out loud your messages will sound different than when you read them to yourself. You will also increase your confidence to deliver your branding messages if you rehearse in this way.
Once you’ve got your branding statements written, practice saying them out loud a few times. The more you practice your statements, the more comfortable you will be with them. This will result in an increase in confidence as you share these statements with others.
Once you are confident in your branding messages, take the bold step of seeking opportunities to use them. You may want to do this with known colleagues and gradually extend that out in your company. You should consider external networking opportunities to use your branding messages once you are confident. If you do not seek out these opportunities, they may never come.
If you would like a personal branding worksheet or some help crafting your personal brand messages, please get in touch using the forms on this website.