Got a brand? Whether you know it or not, you do. Unfortunately, it may not be the brand you want. Your personal and professional contacts think of you as “the guy who…”
Think about how others see you for a moment.
Is this image flattering, or not so much?
There’s a reason professionals employ image consultants. :-)
Tom Peters wrote The Brand Called You way back in 1997. Peters wrote:
Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.
It’s that simple – and that hard. And that inescapable.
Knowing How to Present Yourself Is Hard
You’re in charge of your own image. You teach others how to look at you. Most of us get an image by default.
Professionals craft their image. Politicians know how important it is to stay “on message”, and movie stars employ PR people to carefully build their image.
You can craft your own image too, so that you present yourself memorably to your audiences. Remember: you teach others how to look at you. To do that, you need to see yourself clearly first.
When I develop a brand statement, my first step is to get to know the client. I want to know his history, we can choose his defining moments, and use them to frame his story.
From that, we develop his personal branding statement, and tagline.
I like to create several versions of a branding statement, short and long, so that the client can use them in his marketing materials, and of course with his resume and other materials if he’s job hunting.
Think of the tagline as a slogan. It encapsulates who you think you are. You need to be comfortable with your tagline.
My taglines are ME, your tagline (or taglines, if you have several audiences), needs to be YOU.
Take your time when you’re crafting your own branding statement and tagline. There’s no rush.
You’ll know when it’s right: it will feel good – it will be you.
Tip: when you’re crafting your personal branding statement, avoid the kind of “say nothing, mean nothing” jargon-filled gobbledegook you find in company mission statements. Be REAL. This is your brand, no one else’s. You’re an original. Allow your branding statement to reflect that. When it comes from who you really are, developing an image is much easier.
Once you’ve created your personal branding statement, you’ll have taken the first steps in building and managing your image, so that you can build the career and life you want.
What to do now
- Write your life in 200 words. Hit the high points. This is your mini-autobiography;
- Tell the stories of your defining moments (choose two or three);
- Craft a tagline;
- Create a personal branding statement.