Today’s post actually comes from Primer Magazine’s site. It speaks so clearly about the power of a personal brand, that I just had to put it here. Jeannette Paladino, Writer-in-Chief of Write Speak Sell offers up some pretty potent insight into what makes your personal brand work for you.
In today’s new economy, people are forced to hone their skills and talents to be of greater value – at the very least, perceived value. This essentially makes everyone a salesperson. Whether you like it or not, what your personal brand conveys is directly tied to what you’re experiencing. Are you a leader? Are you a follower? Do you want to change your place in the world? The power of personal branding is in how it immediately answers, “who am I” for yourself, and the people you’d like to impact. Read on!
“Your personal brand influences what your boss and clients perceive as your value — are you in charge of the message you’re sending?”
By Jeannette Paladino, Writer-in-Chief, Write Speak Sell
Personal branding is essential, whether you are just starting out in your first job, or moving up a rung on the career ladder. It’s something you need to work on so when you ask yourself the question, “Who am I?” you’ll know the answer and be able to communicate it clearly and concisely.
Some people confuse their personal brand with their “elevator speech.” The term elevator speech trivializes an important process that will help you understand exactly what makes you stand out from the crowd.
Your brand influences how important internal and external audiences, including your boss, your customers and prospects perceive you and what they think you have to offer them. Another way of understanding branding is that it’s the words you would want people to use in describing you.
Branding is what sets you apart from your competition. Let’s look at the brands of some famous companies and people.
- FedEx, for example, is positioned as the company that you can rely on to deliver your package by 10:30 tomorrow morning. Absolutely, positively.
- Google is the leader in search, and continues to be. The advent of new competition has hardly made a dent in its market share.
People, like companies, have recognizable brands, too. What is your impression of the singer Britney Spears? Is it different from the way you perceive Mother Teresa? How about Sarah Palin? Her brand positioning is fuzzy right now. People don’t know quite what to make of her. It doesn’t help that some former members of John McCain’s campaign staff are trashing her.
What is personal branding?
A commonly accepted definition –
How you and the services you provide are perceived in the minds of the people in your company, your clients and prospects.
Most people will already have a fixed idea in their minds about you. Individuals are often identified with pre-fixes: i.e.: Harvard MBA, Nobel Prize winner, Playmate-of-the-month, 350-hitter, salesman of the year, etc. If your particular target audience has no preconceived ideas, then you have the opportunity to develop your personal brand as you would want it.
Always remember that your brand must promise a benefit to your targets.
Some pointers about branding:
- Your personal brand must be simple and easily understood.
- Two or three of your key attributes should distinguish you from your competition.
- Your targets must be able to grasp your brand quickly and translate it into “What’s in it for me?”.
As you define your brand, think of the attributes that set you apart from your fellow employees or with representatives of other companies who may be calling on your customers. Take some time to give serious thought to your strengths. Write them down.
Do a web search of articles and mentions of your competitors to read if anything is being written about them. Are certain words used repeatedly? Look up their names on LinkedIn and study the words they use to describe themselves in their profiles.
Now – and you knew this was coming – do a search on yourself. Go through the same exercise and see what people are writing or saying about you. What are you saying or writing about you in social media and in personal meetings?
Jeannette Paladino helps companies and individuals to develop their brands and the key messages they want to communicate to their target audiences. She brings a company’s values, strengths and messages to life with effective business writing that is clear, concise and compelling. She is the Writer-in-Chief of Write Speak Sell.
“Our plans miscarry because they have no aim.
When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.”
What harbor are you making for? Where are you headed? What is your definite chief aim in life? There are many reasons to have a declared life purpose, and all of them create advantages to “finding your harbor of choice” in life. Here are 5 reasons (among many) for discovering your life purpose.
1. Meaning and Fulfillment in your actions
When you act on purpose, you experience significantly higher levels of satisfaction with the results. When you have no attachment to the outcome of your life, you won’t feel too elated or hurt if things are great or poor. Life purpose is more than, “I just want things to work out.” Life purpose is about discovering and declaring your purpose here on Earth. When you know what you want, what motivates you, where you’re going, and why – well, that’s a horse of a different color. Having that wisdom opens the world up, and gives you meaning and fulfillment in everything you do.
How do you get started? The best way is to work with me as a coach. We begin with a journey of your personal inventory of fulfillments. What lights you up the most in life? What experiences would you love to perpetually replay? These fulfilling experiences shed light on what your Definite Chief Aim might sound like. From these two places, you can start writing out your own personal mission statement.
Have a mission statement of definite chief aim? Share it in the comments below. Want help creating one?
2. Effortless Focus and Direction
A defined life purpose is a like a compass for the soul. When you discover and declare your intentions and purpose, you let your soul move in the direction of that which best fulfills that intended purpose. Suddenly your compass knows each direction, and which way to go. This is huge. Do you ever find yourself bouncing from one endeavor to another – maybe changing careers, passions, significant others, locations? This is totally normal without a defined purpose. When you know who you are, what you want and why, you stop bouncing – you start building.
The “compass” feature of a defined life purpose allows you to start setting a course for your ship to travel. Clarity and creativity come without struggle, and your life begins to take a different shape. You will have the ability to see opportunities and paths around you that have been hidden before. You can see the paths that will lead you to you best life. It will no longer be a struggle to “figure out” what you need to do, or where you need to go. You’ll know your purpose, and you’ll move confidently in the best direction every time.
3. Limitless Passion and Flow
Here’s a reality check for you: is your life filled with joy and fulfillment? Do you feel like everything you want just seems to happen for you? Are you in flow most of the time? If you answered no to these questions, it’s a pretty strong indicator that your life purpose is still a mystery to you. When you know what your purpose is, these answers become resounding yes’s. Without question.
Passion is an incredibly addictive substance. It fuels actions and desires like nothing else on Earth. Having a defined and declared life purpose opens the flood gates for an unlimited supply of passion to come rushing in. People that are driven by passion are always making things happen – things that bring them more of what they want. They are in flow. You want in. Trust me.
4. Release from things that don’t matter
No more chasing down solutions for problems that won’t move you forward. No more action that takes you back to square one. No more wasted effort and mental bandwidth on things that don’t matter. Having made the choice to follow your defined life purpose statement, you will begin releasing from issues that don’t matter. You free yourself up to opportunities that will move you toward your goals when you release the anchors of issues that hold you back.
This doesn’t mean that you’ll instantly quit your job, stop helping people deal with their issues, or become a guru of awesomeness. It means that you’ll begin to see other opportunities within your job, or outside, that will fulfill your purpose better. You’ll continue to help people, but with a different purpose in mind – one that fulfills you in a greater form. You will, however, be awesome. The truth is, you were awesome before you defined your purpose, and you’re still awesome after it. It may make you feel better as a side affect though. Not a bad side affect, right?
5. Unshakable Foundation
A definite life purpose provides you with an unshakable foundation. Should rough waters threaten your course, you’ll have the asset of a defined life purpose to take you through to the other side. Life is filled with adventures in both joy and doubt. When joy is filling your sails, life is smooth and easy. On the other hand, when doubt takes the wind away, life can be overwhelmingly difficult. An unshakable foundation of life purpose will see you through whatever comes your way.
What is your life purpose? If you need help putting yours together, post a comment.