Brand New, Brand You is a series of Think Oak! posts to help you improve your personal brand in the increasingly crowded and competitive job market.
Brands touch every part of our lives, almost every waking minute of every day. We interact with hundreds if not thousands of brands each week, some consciously, some unconsciously.
What is a brand?
A brand can be a product, a service, an idea, a company, a place, or indeed a person. In my own simplistic view, a brand is the emotional and psychological relationship a product, service, company or person has with others. You don’t have to directly interact with a brand to have an opinion about it. Strong brands elicit thoughts, emotions, and sometimes physiological responses from those that interact with them. Don’t believe me? Look at the table of brand identities below think about the brand – How do they make you feel? How would you describe each brand from your perspective?
Depending on your experience of a particular brand, what you’ve heard about that brand from people you trust, what your background is or even where you come from, your opinion will be coloured accordingly. You have a brand whether you’re aware of it or not.
The Brand You
Have you taken any time out recently to think about your personal brand and what you stand for?
Why should you even worry about Brand You?
Look at your personal brand as an investment. Brand You has the potential to last longer than your own lifespan. While the projects you’re working on might finish or you move roles, your personal brand will persist and (hopefully) add value to each new project you’re involved with or role you move to. If you consider yourself to be in your particular career path for the long-haul, whether it’s a private business, the Public Sector, or your own business, a good personal brand is an invaluable investment. People will follow your brand from project to project and role to role if they feel connected to it. When launching new projects, your personal brand has the potential to guarantee you never have to start from scratch again.
Because your personal brand, more often than not, is built from the thoughts and words and reactions of other people, it’s shaped by how you present yourself publicly. This is something that you have control over. You can decide how you would like people to see you and then work on publicly being that image. Consider your goals for the brand. If you want to sell an expensive course in landscape photography you’ll need to be seen as someone with the authority to teach others on the topic. If you want to get work for high-end blue-ship clients you’ll need to be seen as a runaway talent with a professional attitude. Two useful questions to ask yourself are:
What are people saying / thinking / feeling about you when you walk into a room? What would you like them to be thinking and saying?
Your personal brand is composed of your actions and output in three main areas:
•Value Proposition: What do you stand for?
•Differentiation: What makes you stand out?
•Marketability: What makes you compelling?
Well it’s never too late to START creating the Brand New Brand You! Over the course of the next few posts I’ll cover some key areas for you to think about, work on, and evolve in order to improve Brand You, STARTing with Self-discovery.