“Personal branding describes the process by which individuals and entrepreneurs differentiate themselves and stand out from a crowd by identifying and articulating their unique value proposition, whether professional or personal, and then leveraging it across platforms with a consistent message and image to achieve a specific goal. In this way, individuals can enhance their recognition as experts in their field, establish reputation and credibility, advance their careers, and build self-confidence.”
– Dan Schawbel , Personal Branding Gen-Y Expert
All of us are familiar with brands and can identify many of them by their logos. In addition to being able to identify the companies, we are also able to describe some of the company’s (brand’s) attributes.
For example, when we see the Starbucks logo, there are certain things that come to mind. For example, we might think of Starbucks as:
- Having friendly baristas who make coffee drinks tailored to our tastes.
- Where we can “Expect more than coffee”
- A place to hangout
- Expensive, but worth the price.
- Just offering an attractive tuition reimbursement program for all employees!
These are examples of what is called the “brand experience.” It is what we learn to expect from the brand based upon our experience and/or the experience of others. We might also think of Starbucks as being expensive, but worth the price due to the quality of the beverage. This is what is known as brand’s value.
We use both of these to differentiate brands.
But what happens if you are confused by branding messages? As a consumer, how do you feel and/or how does this type of “brand mimicking” impact your choices?
Now, think of yourself as a hiring manager. What is your reaction to candidates who all appear to be the same? How does this impact your decision-making?
It is important to find a way to differentiate yourself from others in order to “get the attention” of potential employers. If you look like everyone else, you will not stand out, and limit he chances of interviews and job offers.
Creating your personal brand
The major elements of “personal branding” are:
- what makes you unique
- what you are known for
- what people seek you out for
- what you stand for
- what makes you stand out
- your reputation
- “your unique promise of value” (source: Reach Personal Branding)
- reflects your actions, values, interests, strengths…and weaknesses
- how others perceive you