Last time I borrowed from the advertising industry in discussing the concept of, “Breaking through the clutter” – developing and honing in on your key messages when presenting yourself for a job interview so that your key points make an impression and don’t overwhelm the interviewer.
Today we travel back to Madison Avenue for the concept of, “Branding.” Just like soda, detergent and muscle cars, among others, convey a particular image to consumers, and drill that image into their minds, we almost do so as professionals.
What do I mean? Take a careful look at your professional self and determine what you’re best known for and what you’d like to be known for. Is it your technical expertise, for example? Your knowledge of a particular industry? The way you service customers or your ability to develop new business relationships?
As you perform this analysis, think of situations where you’ve been successful and where you haven’t. If you can, get input from others.
Then, use all this information to clearly define for yourself your “brand” – what is it that characterizes you (aka your “product”) and, if you’re happy with your brand, what can you do to sustain and promote it?
Some examples – attend seminars and networking events that relate to your personal brand. Review your resume to make sure it, like any other advertisement, emphasizes your brand characteristics. Make sure you have an elevator speech and a set of interview answers – and questions for the interviewer – that reflect your brand.
In a way, we always have to sell ourselves. Let’s make sure we’re doing it the right way, and not sell ourselves short!