Do you sincerely believe that what you know and what you do is so unique that no one else in this city, in this country, or on this planet is able to do the same thing? Of course, you are not. And, that’s okay. You don’t have to be unique to be valuable.
The importance of branding is indisputable; it justifies existence, usage and continuity. A personal brand, like a product brand, evolves over time. It is your reputation; it is your storyline. One hopes that it solicits a positive image of quality and reliability.
Building a personal brand has changed over the years – not just because of technology. In addition to the impact of technology, building a personal brand has changed because:
- The way we work has changed.
- The way we choose to trust/not to trust the tsunami of information we receive each day has changed.
- The rise of non-linear careers serves to highlight the transferability of skills across employers and job functions.
The Brand of YOU is no longer just about the unique training and accomplishments that you bring to your work. It is about the experiential exchange that you bring to the relationship. In today’s market, four behaviors can make you more memorable and update your personal brand statement:
1. Give First. What can you do to provide value to another individual? Simple things like sharing the highlights of a professional conference with others in the industry who were unable to attend the event. Sharing news about a special sale with friends who enjoy shopping. Or, reminding your foodie friends that Restaurant Week is approaching.
Giving to others through these types of gestures can make you memorable, in ways that no elevator pitch would achieve.
2. Track the Details: Think about the smile that comes to your face when someone outside of your innermost circle sends you a birthday greeting. Think about the positive impression that you make when you reconnect with someone from years gone by and they ask about your family members by name.
Create a message that says: You matter to me.
3. Connect on a human level. Be kind. In today’s digital world, we often forget to look someone in the eye and, sincerely ask how his or her day is going. I have had some insightful conversations during an Uber car ride and I have learned product tips by making small talk in the checkout line. Whether in our personal or professional lives, individuals respond to feeling recognized and respected.
Who cares what your personal brand is if you ignore me in the elevator – only to find out that we are sitting next to each other in the 1pm business meeting?
4. Speak simply and without acronyms. Give examples. Even when attending a professional conference, is it necessary to speak in jargon, acronyms and multi-syllable words? More often than not, the listener will be embarrassed to ask you for clarification. In addition, when speaking with someone from another industry, function or cultural background – many words have different implications.
- One example is the bundling of the sales, marketing, web design and creative functions by someone outside of the marketing communications industry. These functions certainly overlap, however they also each require very different expertise.
Use examples that illustrate your point of view. When people understand what you are saying, they have a higher chance of remembering the conversation with you.
In closing, our personal brand is more than our credentials; The Brand of YOU is the entire experiential interaction that makes us unique and memorable.
Sharon Lewis thrives on the research discovery process to uncover the needs of the target market that she then uses to build go-to market strategies that deliver marketplace relevancy and bottom-line revenues. Her work spans financial services to healthcare to non-profit. As a native New Yorker, who spent nine-plus years in Toronto, Canada, Sharon firmly believes that learning opportunities are everywhere and the transferability of best practices across industries and cultures is limited only by one’s imagination