The ‘Me’ Brand The age of personal branding
Today brands are everything; a brand is a promise of the value you’ll receive. So in this highly individualized age, we need to create our own brand. We need to learn, improve, and build our skills so that we have the chance to stand out. The good news is we all have the opportunity to be a brand worthy of remark.
By not branding ourselves, we risk the possibility that others will brand us themselves. If we don’t make our intentions clear, others may interpret us incorrectly and this could have a detrimental effect on our reputation, our image and the ideas that people have about us. People’s perception of ourselves quickly spread across many social connections and whether positive or negative, their understanding of us is shared regardless.
How we present and package ourselves will determine to a large extent how others see and perceive us. In 1997 Tom Peters, wrote an article in Fast Company magazine challenging readers to become CEOs of their own company - Me Inc.
To be successful in business, he said, your most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called “You”. Two years later, he published a book called The Brand You, Fifty Ways to Transform Yourselffrom an Employee into a Brand that
He made the case for everyone having their own signs of distinction, which need to be managed correctly to reap the maximum benefit. We all have an identity, a uniqueness that defines us as individuals.
Take into account the following scenario: we’re hired, report to work and join a team, and immediately start assessing how to deliver value to the customer. In the meantime, we learn and develop new and improved skills, hone abilities, and move from project to project. If we’re considered smart, we’ll figure out how to distinguish ourselves from all the other very smart people walking around with high-powered tablets, and well-polished curriculum vitae. Along the way, if we’re exceptionally smart, we’ll figure out what it takes to create a distinctive role for ourselves, we create a message and a strategy to promote the brand called ‘Me’.
The main outcome of personal branding should be a clear understanding of who we are and what we want to be known for. It is not enough to be known for what we do in this highly competitive world, we must be known for what we do differently. We need people to believe that we are the best solution to their problem. To do this we need to think of new ways to describe ourselves and our assets.
We should look at our brand’s power as an exercise in curriculum vitae management. We don’t have old-fashioned curriculum vitae anymore! Our CV needs to become a sort of marketing brochure for brand ‘Me’. Instead of a static list of titles held and positions occupied, our marketing brochure brings to life the skills we’ve mastered, the projects we’ve delivered, the work we can take credit for. And like any good marketing brochure, we need to constantly update it to reflect our own self growth.
Whether one is on a job hunt, a student, or gainfully employed, we must always think, act and plan like business leaders and this is mostly relevant with the surge of social media. Nowadays we have not only plan like business leaders and this is mostly relevant with the surge of social media. Nowadays we have not only the ability, but also the need to manage our own reputation in the virtual arena in addition to our real life personas. Unfortunately most people do not realize that nowadays all employers research prospective candidates on the net prior to employment and what comes up can have a huge impact on whether one can land a job or not.
Take as an example the recent case of an employee who threatened a well-known blogger via his Facebook status, or the herds of youngsters at the start of their career who proudly post countless photos of drunken adventures in their photo albums. Do they really think that this sends out a good image of themselves and makes them desirable for employers? Well the answer is a big, NO!
Whatever we put on the net, stays there forever and something that is posted today might come back to haunt us in five years time. For this reason we must all understand the process of personal branding, because the important aspect is how we portray ourselves to our customers. Yes, we have consumers just like any other commercial product
Our consumers are employers, fiancées, friends and all those we come in contact with. We need to find ways to get our consumers to choose us over other, similar products on the market which might fulfil the same functions. That’s the process of personal branding.
Here are four simple steps to start creating our ‘Me’ brand:
• Determine Our Emotional Appeal - Make a list of words that best describe features of your personality. These words are known as emotional modifiers. Example: I have a great sense of humour and make people crack with laughter and because of this everyone enjoys being around me.
• Determine Our Description - The next step is coming up with a descriptive argument or modifier that brings clarity to the above emotional modifier, in simple terms; identifying what or who our brand is for. Example: I am a GP and my audience is family units, using humour helps me to make people feel at ease when they come into my clinic.
• Determine Our Function - We need to write down what is it that we do (or will do). It might be something that directly relates to our career: financial planning, cooking etc. Or, it might be something more broad.
This article is written by Jonathan Cremona. Jonathan Cremona has over five years experience in he tourism sector marketing Malta as an English Language teaching destination. His transition to the Conference and Incentives sector introduced him to the automotive industry, where he now markets popular brands such as Fiat Alfaromeo, Hyundai, Toyota and Lexus. For the past year Jonathan has been promoted to work in the Business Development department at the Debono Group.