Branding has flourished big time—we have product brands, service brands, country brands, political brands, cause-related brands, even cultural brands. In this post I want to help those of you who are keen to create your personal brand. To do that, you’ll need a brand strategy. The strategy and the positioning for a personal brand isn’t that different from a product or service brand; your intent is to position yourself in the best way possible to achieve the desired objective. To most of you the objective is to advance your career.
So let’s get to it. Firstly, understand the constraints. You can’t position yourself as all things to all people. Great brands different themselves. Too many brand benefits and superlatives diminish the identity you wish to impart. So, try to think about the things that are important to your target group. If you excel in any of them, you are onto something. If you don’t, stay away from that ‘promise’ or ‘benefit’ and find something else that you do (or you can learn to do) that’s a match.
Here’s your personal brand strategy template:
Your Target Group:
How They Currently View You:
How You Want them to View You:
Your Brand Benefit:
Reason to believe the Benefit:
To help you fill in the blanks, I’m going to include a sample. This is one I helped create for an individual who was looking for a CEO position. I’ll call him Joe. Whether you are a CEO or a payroll clerk the format and the approach is the same.
Joe’s Target Group: Executive Recruiters and Corporate Boards
How They Currently View Joe: He’s a good guy who successfully ran Acme Widgets for 15 years. I don’t know what happened in that one nasty year of red ink but it cost him his job.
How Joe Wants them to View Him: Joe took Acme from $25 million to $250 million. One bad year caused by an expensive product recall is no reason to let him go. We need to talk to him before someone else snaps him up.
Joe’s Brand Benefit: A leader who creates an environment that inspires people to excel and businesses to grow.
Reason to believe the Benefit: A track record of impressive revenue and earnings growth.
Brand Character: Forthright, approachable, strategic, courageous, and results-driven.
Finally, I recommend that you remember the tenets of good branding. The business world is a busy place. Minds are cluttered with more and more information than ever before. This is the reason why your brand positioning statement must be simple, clear, and coherent. Verbosity is verboten. Go for it.
For more on business focus and simplicity, check out my new book, Do Less Better: The Power of Strategic Sacrifice in a Complex World.