What's Your Personal Brand?

We are all familiar with slogans that companies have used in their advertizing to convey something important about Who They Are to consumers. For instance:

~ "We bring good things to life." (GE)

A branding statement is a tagline that says Who You Are. It creates an image, conveying something essential about your distinctiveness in a crowded marketplace. A brand forms a perception in the minds of others about You.

Lately the concept of corporate branding has been applied to personal branding, especially for people in career transition.

Thanks to IT executive Mike Szot, I read an interesting article at CIO.com about personal branding, written by Catherine Kaputa, where she identifies 8 tips for standing out in a competitive job market. She writes:

~ "Personal branding is just as important to business and technology professionals, especially in a down economy. Whether you're a recent victim of a layoff or you're employed but worried about job loss, personal branding can make all the difference in your future job security and career success. By making yourself known for something special-—whether it be a unique skill, attitude or problem-solving approach-—you can make a stronger impression on prospective employers and/or demonstrate to your existing employer that you're indispensible."

How does one come up with a personal branding statement? Kaputa provides 5 questions and 8 tips worth reading.

I would add the following:

- What have your reviews said? - What positive feedback have you received in the past? What have people told you that you are good at?

- What's your best? - Think about the stuff you really enjoy doing, the occasions when you are at your very best, when time seems to zoom by (i.e., the "flow state").

- What's your calling? - When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did you become that? Or something else? Is that dream still there within you? Is it finding expression in your life and work somehow?

- What's your favorite problem and Who do you help? - Whatever our fields of endeavor, we are all problem solvers of one sort or another. Think about the kinds of problems you are best at, the ones you really enjoy solving. And who you are helping the most as you solve them.

Questions such as these, and those in Kaputa's article, will help you to surface some of the ingredients that make up Who You Are, that special blend of strengths and personal attributes that make up your unique and distinctive offering in the world.

A few years ago, I attended a workshop with career coach John Hadley who taught us how to build a branding statement using the material that the above questions provide. As a first step, Hadley suggested that you fill in the blanks on the following:

~ I am a [fill in a profession] who helps people to [fill in an action or two].

So, for example: "I am a Training & Organization Development professional who helps business leaders to facilitate change to achieve results."

The key to making this work, Hadley says, is to experiment when you are networking. Gauge the reaction people have to the branding statement you have crafted. Does it interest or bore them? If you are going "over the top," you'll sense it.

The best indicator that it's working is when the other person asks to hear more.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, May 22, 2009


John Hadley said…
Thanks for reference to my Marketing Headline work. One clarification...I do not advocate saying "I am a ... who ..." I find that including a title in your marketing headline is counterproductive - listeners then focus more on whatever 'baggage' they associate in their mind with that title, instead of on what you can do. It's much more effective to go straight to the problem or solution. For an example of this, see this article:


John West Hadley
Career Search Counselor
(908) 725-2437

"Land The Job & Pay You Deserve"

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Terrence Seamon said…
Hi John,
Welcome to my blog! I'm very happy that you stopped by and added the clarification of your work, which has helped so many (including me).

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