Personal Brand Strategist
Career Reinvention and
Personal Brand Strategist
What is personal branding and why is it so important?
The Changing World of Work
The world of work has been changing rapidly during the past decade due to increased globalization, the proliferation of online social media, and technological advances which are blurring the boundaries between work and personal lives.
However, in the past year because of an incredibly difficult economy, changes have been even more rampant. Layoffs are the word of the day and for the FEW remaining jobs that are available, the competition is INTENSE to say the least.
Personal Branding has been around for a while and really caught on when Tom Peters authored an article called "The Brand Called You" in a 1997 issue of Fast Company magazine. In this article, he talks about how everyone is a brand and has a chance to stand out, not just the large consumer products companies with massive marketing budgets.
"Today brands are everything, and all kinds of products and services—from accounting firms to sneaker makers to restaurants—are figuring out how to transcend the narrow boundaries of their categories and become a brand surrounded by a Tommy Hilfiger-like buzz.
"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."
Personal branding picked up steam with the founding of the Reach Personal Branding Club in 2001. In the last 12 months, personal branding has become a household word as individual job seekers and small business owners try to figure out how to stay afloat in this very difficult economy.
What Makes You Unique, Makes You Successful
Personal Branding is about identifying and then communicating what makes you unique and relevant and differentiated for your target audience, so that you can reach your career and/or business goals. If you understand your strengths, skills, passions, and values, you can use this information to separate yourself from your competitors and really stand out.
Personal branding is very powerful because it sends a clear, consistent message about who you are and what you have to offer. A strong, authentic personal brand helps you become known for what you're good at, sets you apart from everyone else, and can position you as a niche expert.
I became passionate about personal branding more than four years ago when I was transitioning from employment as a career counselor in higher education to a career coach in private practice. At that time, I joined The Reach Branding Club a membership-based personal branding community with resources related to developing and expressing your personal brand. I signed up for one of the early courses in personal branding and began working with the Reach360 Personal Branding assessment. I have since become certified in Reach's 1-2-3 Success!™ process which is a three-phased approach to brand identification, communication, and management.
Extract, Express, Exude; 1-2-3- Success!™
The first and most important step in the process is the "Extract" phase, where you do your own market external research and introspective analysis. One of the first steps in the "Extract" phase is the 360Reach Personal Branding Assessment, which has been used by nearly 1 million people worldwide (career professionals, entrepreneurs, small business owners). It is a Web-based confidential personal branding tool that helps you get the real story about how you are perceived by those around you and what sets you apart. It provides honest feedback about how you are perceived and what your professional reputation is. These data are synthesized and combined with input provided by you on your VPs (Vision, Values, Passion, and Purpose) and your career goals.
In phase two, the "Express" phase, you decide how you are going to communicate your unique attributes and qualities to the people who need to know about you (your target audience). In this phase, you'll craft your Personal Brand Statement, Branded Bio, rework your resume, elevator pitch, and other career tools that will be essential to reaching the goals you have identified above. A comprehensive communications plan is developed based on your communication style and preferences.
In phase three, the "Exude" phase, you learn about how to reflect your brand in everything you do, including your personal network, your use of technology, office surroundings, your identity system, your appearance, your volunteer activities, etc.
Read more about the 1-2-3 Success!™ program in Time Magazine.
How Can Personal Branding Help Me in my Job Search or in my Business?
In today's competitive job market, you need to think of yourself as a brand. As William Arruda has said numerous times in our training "no one gets excited about commodities."
Once you go through the "Extract" phase in the Reach 1-2-3 Success!™ Program, you move to the "Express" phase where you decide how to communicate your key attributes, qualities, and differentiators. With the help of a Certified Personal Brand Strategist, you'll take the raw data and key nuggets found in phase one and create new and rework existing career marketing documents (resume, elevator pitch, LinkedIn profile, etc.), all of which consistently communicate your "unique promise of value" to decision makers and focus on the immediate value and benefit you can offer a prospective employer. This work will force you to pinpoint with utmost clarity what you are good at and known for.
Branding breathes life into your career marketing documents (which are often quite "flat" and "boring") and creates a vivid way to generate interest in you, helping you land faster and, hopefully, at a higher compensation level. If you are a small business owner or solopreneur, branding helps you narrow down the target market you want to service and develop highly differentiated messages for that audience.
When you navigate a career change, job search, or a business launch with your unique brand, you're working from a position of power.
What are the benefits of a strong personal brand?
- Personal Branding enhances your self-awareness. When you go through the Personal Branding process, you develop incredible self-understanding about what makes you unique, valuable, and powerful. It helps optimize and flaunt your strengths.
- Personal Branding helps you clarify and reach your goals. Personal branding requires you to be crystal clear on what you want to achieve and helps you set goals to get there.
- Personal Branding helps you create visibility and presence. Once you know what is unique and compelling about you or your company, you can use that information to create visibility/presence to those people who will help you achieve your goals.
- Personal Branding is about differentiation. Personal Branding will help you differentiate yourself from everyone else who has your job title or who says they are in the same business as you.
- Personal Branding offers more control and power. Personal Branding puts you in control of your business, the clients you have, the projects you work on, and how you want to deliver services.
- Personal Branding creates wealth. Strong brands charge a premium for their products and services, and differentiated job seekers who know their value can command higher salaries.
- Personal Branding offers resilience. Strong brands are successful despite challenges and downturns in the economy because they stand for something unique and are differentiated.
Why should you hire a Personal Brand Strategist to help you unearth and communicate your brand?
After 22 years of practicing law, I came to Randi looking to make a career move to a senior position in the nonprofit sector. She administered assessment exercises designed to identify my transferable skills and helped me translate my professional background into a nonprofit-friendly format. Within six months, I stepped into an important nonprofit leadership position.