What is personal branding and why do you need to think about it? According to Peter Montoya, a personal brand is “an identity that stimulates precise, meaningful perceptions in its audience about the values and qualities the person stands for.” These perceptions vary as you move from one “domain” to another: home, business, community, and/or school. Your brand in your “business” domain is not going to be the same as your brand in your “home” domain: that is, your kids, signiﬁcant other, or parents will not describe you using the same words as your business colleagues.
Personal branding is all about differentiating yourself from your competitors—the rest of the market. To do that, you need to understand what makes you unique and compelling. Ultimately, branding involves three important components: personality, position, and promise.
• PERSONALITY—A successful brand is packaged in such a way that you distinguish yourself from others while supporting the vision you have for your future. This does not mean you have to dress or behave in some outré fashion; only that YOU need to highlight your best features to be easily recognizable. Your packaging is an advertisement of the product. So be careful to send the right message at all times.
• POSITION— A successful brand provides added to value in order to determine its relative position amongst other products. The most successful brands can be described in a single sentence or phrase. “Like a rock” suggests that Chevy trucks are tough. “We’ll leave the light on for you” says you’re always welcome at Motel 6™. What about YOU? Maybe “Pat Smith always gets things done,” or “Terry Jones knows everything about sailing.” If you are incredibly successful, sometimes your brand can be described by a single word as were Kleenex® and Xerox®. Think: Oprah, Madonna, Gandhi.
• PROMISE—A successful brand promises a particular experience. Online auctioneer eBay says “Buy it. Sell it. Love it.” The whole experience is suggested by these six words: customers will ﬁnd it easy to buy and sell, and they will be pleased with the results. What promise do YOU offer? Maybe you’re a top-notch CPA who offers “worry-free tax preparation” or a coach for runners who want to “train without pain.”
Read the following excerpt from The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding (2002), by Al and Laura Ries. I’ve substituted the word “YOU” where it applies:
“…[B]randing in the marketplace is very similar to branding on the ranch. A branding program should be designed to differentiate YOU from all the ‘cattle on the range.’ Even if all the other cattle on the range look pretty much alike, the objective is to create in the mind of the prospect the perception that there is no other product on the market quite like YOU.”
Certified Brand Strategist & Image Professional
Author, trainer and brand coach, Marva Goldsmith walks the talk when it comes to personal branding and professional image.
An electrical engineer and certified image professional, she has successfully merged right-brain logic with left-brain creativity to use proven methodologies to provide tangible deliverables, actionable recommendations and demonstrable results.
For further information, please contact me at 301.474.8808 or fill out my online contact form.
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