Marketing Your Personal Brand

From the sneakers you are wearing with the distinctive swoosh on the side to the coffee cup in your hand emblazoned with a familiar-looking two-tailed mermaid – you have been branded.

The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a “name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.”

What works for products goes for people as well. Just as you construct a brand for a product or service, you can build a strong brand identity for yourself. Your bio, experience, skills, behaviors, appearance, online persona, even your name – contribute to your brand. What you need is a clear brand strategy, like all the good corporations strive for, to make sure that you are presenting yourself in a way that achieves your objectives.

In fact, in today’s economy, when millions are looking for employment and those fortunate enough to be employed constantly worry about demonstrating their worth to their company, we must take a lesson from the big brands in order to stand out.

What Makes You Different?

Beginning today, think of yourself as a brand. Ask yourself, “What is it that my product or service does that makes it different?” In other words, create your own personal elevator pitch. To get started, ask yourself a few questions such as:

• What value do I provide to my customers (stakeholders)?
• How do I provide this value?
• What is it about my service that makes it different?

Maybe you consistently deliver your work on time. If this is the case, your internal or external customer gets dependable, reliable service that meets its strategic needs. Or perhaps you anticipate and solve problems before they escalate. In this case, your client will save money and headaches just by having you on their team.

What do you do that you are most proud of? What have you accomplished that you can blatantly brag about? You can even ask your colleagues what they feel is your greatest, most noteworthy strength. Be mindful that the ideal pitch is no longer than 60 seconds, or about 200 words.

Marketing You

The key to most marketing campaigns is visibility. To gain more visibility for your personal brand, try moonlighting. Sign up for additional projects inside your organization, just to showcase your skills to colleagues that you do not typically interact with. If you can get these people singing your praises, they will likely provide excellent ‘customer testimonials.’

Four years ago, Enterprise Solution Specialist Ellen Holtzman became a charter member of Jabil’s Toastmasters club in an effort to improve both her impromptu and public speaking abilities. “When I joined Toastmasters, I did not expect to become a leader and was surprised to find that this is the area I most enjoy,” said Holtzman. “I have served as an officer every term since I joined.”

By exerting herself outside of her normal job function, Holtzman also has the opportunity to rub elbows with colleagues that she would not otherwise. “Through our meetings I have been able to get to know people at Jabil that I normally do not get to work with as the club is a cross-section of the company,” Holtzman said.

Remember that everything you do, and everything you don’t do, communicates the character of your brand. Your self-presentation online can be a powerful tool toward developing your personal brand. Jabil’s Amy Beamer, Senior Director of Risk and Assurance Services, has focused on building a presence on the social platforms most applicable to her career and continually interacts, monitors and maintains them to showcase her knowledge.

“I firmly believe online networking is not just to look for a new job or position but can be used to enhance current position,” said Beamer. “I’ve seen great benefits from the ability to network with others in the industry. Through LinkedIn I have been able to communicate to the wider world of risk and assurance and pricing. As a result, we have implemented new solutions previously unavailable within Jabil.”

The Power of Power

Marketing is ultimately about influence and influence is not just about showing people what you can do, it is about showing people what you can do for them. You want to be known for making the most significant contribution in a particular area, or being a subject matter expert, which will ultimately lead to a good reputation. Having a good reputation is powerful.

Recognizing the fact that we now live in a project-based world is a key to growing your power. Think about it, almost all the work we do is organized into projects. According to Getting Smart, “…it is both a skill and an art to initiate and manage a project to successful completion.” Projects are ideal for building your brand as they revolve around deliverables, generate measurable and leave you with results you can brag about.

Look for projects that enhance your current skillset and accomplishments or venture outside your comfort zone and take on a project that is something new and entirely different.

Yes, building your own brand requires you to act selfishly – growing yourself and promoting yourself. However, any company you work for will benefit as you seek to develop yourself. The projects you lead, the networks you develop and the customers you delight all generate credit for the organization.

We want to hear from you: What steps have you taken to build your personal brand?

One Response to Marketing Your Personal Brand

  1. Mellissa Gamez says:

    Jabil is a WW organization what holds true in Northern America might not hold true in other regions of the world. Take the following link for example which talks about self promotion as a taboo in the UK. Albeit you can tone down or up the idea of self promotion, this is still food for thought.

    http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/04/common-language-doesnt-equal-c/

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