YOU own the marketing rights to YOU. You are the chief marketing officer for ____________________ (fill in your name) Enterprises. All messages, biographies, articles, and print on you are ultimately your responsibility. Together they form your brand. Your brand is worth money. Believe me? Would you stop in your tracks if I said that building yourself a better brand could, over time, increase YOUR salary by 20-40%?
Why would marketing yourself be any different than the importance of product branding and marketing? You buy a product because of its brand promises. You anticipate a certain result based on the power of the brand. If you create a strong brand and message surrounding yourself, other companies and opportunities will seek you out in search of that brand promise.
Having a brand action plan is easy:
1) Define it: What would you like to be known for? What are characteristics that define your skill sets and strengths? It is as simple as making a bulleted list of the characteristics that define you. Try to compile a list of 3-5 characteristics and descriptors that define your strengths and skills.
- Business development professional accountant.
- Talented engineer out of the box thinker high integrity.
- Networker problem solver passionate about green initiatives.
- Visionary leader skilled communicator diversity focused.
- Solves complex client issues easily.
2) Message it: Create a brand message that describes you and what you’d like to be known for from your list of characteristics. Examples:
- Skillful accountant with excellent communication skills, able to solve difficult client issues with finesse.
- IT visionary leader born with a passion to continuously learn and able to communicate very complex issues in easy to understand language.
- Experienced in complex academic environments.
3) Enforce it: However you decide to define your brand message, it will then be up to you to enforce it. There are many opportunities through verbal and written communication as well as social media that can be used to reinforce your brand.
- LinkedIn: Use LinkedIn to reinforce your brand message and spread a consistent message about YOU to the market. Your BRAND MESSAGE can be listed in the SUMMARY section of your LinkedIn profile.
- Email: When communicating both internally and externally, be sure that your communications are in sync with the brand message that you want to deliver about you. If you want to show the world that you are an excellent communicator, then ensure that your emails are written well and your message easily deciphered.
- Other social media outlets: Use Twitter, Plaxo, and Facebook to further your brand messaging.
- Written reports: Written reports that you create should be consistent with the message that you’d like delivered about you.
So, you think, why should I care? When you define your brand and message it, you clarify your brand to yourself and others. You begin to solidify your brand. Ultimately this means that you need to define the VALUE that you deliver to a company. That VALUE STATEMENT creates job opportunities through raised awareness and knowledge. You create a demand for your skill set by helping to increase the knowledge that others have about WHAT YOU DO, WHAT YOU ARE GOOD at, and ultimately the VALUE that you deliver.
People can (and will) hire you if they know what makes you different than all the other people in the exact same industry and position as you. Creating a brand strategy for YOU that increases your marketability and compensation will pay off tenfold.
by Bethany Williams