When it comes to your own life, you are marketing your personal brand every single day, whether you realise it or not.
Marketing boils down to how you serve yourself up to those around you and what you consistently offer to them. The work you do and the friendships you provide are an experience you enable others to consume. When marketing yourself, it’s about consciously building that experience so that you can effectively get what you want in return from your life. That’s what marketing truly is all about: creating a consistent experience for your “customers,” whether you are a big brand or just managing your life toward your own personal goals. The key here is to take control. You are your own brand manager, and you must set the course for your own brand experience. It’s your show, love your brand.
From a marketing perspective, positioning is the space you want to occupy in your customers’ minds when they think about your brand. In personal branding, it’s how you want others to feel about you, whether it’s a boss, co-worker, job interviewer, friend or partner. Positioning is not a statement about you, it’s a statement that captures who you are. It’s not a factual claim; but rather, an emotional reason for people to want to be around you. It should capture the essence of who you are and how you have defined your personal brand.
You can use personal attributes you outline as part of your brand definition to craft a positioning statement that captures how you want people to feel about you. Knowing who you are entails you have your stance and position. This means you have a position statement that best describes who you are and your services. A positioning statement is so much more effective than droning on and on about every career move you’ve made. It captures your essence and lets people instantly know what you are all about. While my positioning statement is fact-based, it also has a sense of emotion to it. This positioning statement becomes an effective way to describe who you are to others.
No matter what services you offer, let your voice, tone and overall image reflect your personality and work style. This will allow anyone - even strangers - feel like they know you, and will make you stand out among the competition.
Ask yourself: “What about me makes me unique, professionally and personally?”
Do you have a unique sense of style? Flaunt it.
Are you a perfectionist? Then make everything perfect.
Are you funny? Use witty humour throughout your messaging.
Are you incredibly easy to work with? Prove it with quotes from past clients.
Most of my colleagues says I am a complete lunatic, funny and MAD. MAD means “Make A Difference.” They believe in how I approach things and the solution I bring to the table. They accept my unusual style of dealing with things because it brings the kind of result the organisation seeks.
The perfect place to start defining your style is with the photo you use in your profile, website or portfolio. Your photo is the first thing potential clients are going to see and the first thing that’s going to impact their opinion of you. It needs to portray you as a professional they’d want to work with. That doesn’t mean they need to be formal, but they do need to be high-quality and well executed.
In 2007, during one to one with my line manager who was a Senior Director, he specifically told me there were three things about me that made me stand out from the rest of the team and he insists I shouldn’t lose these three qualities: my communication skill, my empathy and compassion to both clients and colleagues. This was the first time I took absolute notice of these qualities and I became conscious and started developing them further. Over the years, these qualities have become part of my position. These qualities separate my work from that of my colleagues. These qualities bring the kind of results that makes any management to respect and value me. Although your personal brand should be uniquely you, it should also be one that your ideal clients relate to.
Without a proper definition of your personal brand, you can’t possibly market yourself. Part of that process is also identifying how your brand can be unique from others in the same space, and how to build an experience, unlike all others around you. Identify your personal skills and ownable attributes (the ones you have now or the ones you want to acquire over time).
Make sure you can excel at each of those skills and attributes. Determine whether you can use them to differentiate yourself from others. Start by outlining all the areas of your life where you want to achieve success and happiness. This would certainly include your career, but also your social life, relationships, children and places you would want to live. It’s never too early to start a bucket list, and it should be directly linked to your brand and ultimately, your plan.
Next time you are in a job interview and the interviewer says, “Tell me about yourself,” you can lead in with a short, descriptive, and powerful positioning statement. Imagine how convincing and confident you will sound. A positioning statement is so much more effective than droning on and on about every career move you’ve made. It captures your essence and lets people instantly know what you are all about.
Remember that your personal brand definition should be operational: an indication of what you want out of life, not necessarily where you are right now. Don’t let others define you. What you think of yourself is what really matters most. Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. How you make others feel about themselves says a lot about you. Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. You need to believe in yourself. Nobody can make you happy until you’re happy with yourself first.
The five keys to personal branding success are:
1. Make all assets undeniably you.
2. Be as consistent as possible.
3. Be authentic. Be yourself, rather than trying to be someone else.
4. Get to the point. Make your offering and personal brand clear from the start. Keep your bio short and to the point.
5. Don’t underestimate a tagline. This is your unique selling proposition in ten or less words. Spend some time with it and make sure it conveys the value you add.
It is a good start to love yourself and spread happiness. The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they make the best of everything. You can never be happy if you’re trapped in the past and fearful of the future. Living in the present is the only way to be happy. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to live a life you are excited about. The secret of being happy is accepting where you are in life and making the most out of every day.