The ME brand

We seem to be quite content to be branded in one way or another. My brother is a brand whore, and God knows I cannot shop for him because he only wears the expensive urban brands. I'm a MAC girl and love their makeup. You may just be a Mac person, in love with all things Apple. I have seen more than one car here branded with the "Keep Walking" brand logo from Johnnie Walker, so we do brand ourselves. But do we really sell the most important brand there is? The ME brand. To me, that's an invaluable commodity but do others see it the same way?

I'm not sure if people are truly paying attention to their personal brand here in T&T, or rather not enough people. We sell the concept of the brand, yes but at the corporate level and as part of a corporate product or service marketng machinery. But what about the investment in our skills, our capabilities, our professionalism, our talents? How many of us are selling and truly pimping ourselves out? Are you?

It may seem easier to just be part of the bigger picture type branding, to just fall into a prepared strategy. But in fact, if one is confident in one's expertise, then the selling is much easier. But are you selling yourself?

There are great instances of personal brands here in various sectors. Machel is a brand for example. People have come to expect a certain type of performance from him, one that is high energy, high quality and original. You never expect to go to a Machel performance and hear him singing other people's songs. So he is doing it, he is working it and his brand is a strong one. We now need to take the concept of personal branding from that sphere to our personal situations because people hear branding and somehow they never equate it to their own professional circumstances, which is where we probably lose sight of its relevance.

And in much the same way you make a distinction between a Carib and a Heineken, one must ask oneself, "what sets me apart from Jill or John?" What is your feature benefit? In what ways do you bring or add value to a team or to a project? Is your brand consistent and reliable? Are you dependable and bring your A-game more times than not?

Personal branding is not about logos and slogans but more about the intangible benefits which you can deliver. But first you have to have something to sell and not just any product but a damn good product. So take the time to

  • develop a brand statement that speak to you and what you have to offer
  • develop your expertise in your chosen area 
  • gather feedback from your peers about how you are perceived
  • examine your track record and identify your strengths and weaknesses; harness your strengths, work on the weaknesses
  • build credibility and a solid "customer" base which can defend your brand
  • be visible - set yourself apart from the crowd 
  • have a vision of what you are and where you want to be; clear cut goals
  • have a plan of how you intend to get there
  • execute the plan

Remember:

When you're promoting brand You, everything you do -- and everything you choose not to do -- communicates the value and character of the brand. Everything from the way you handle phone conversations to the email messages you send to the way you conduct business in a meeting is part of the larger message you're sending about your brand. - FastCompany.



(And I did touch on how our other social media activities for example, can impact the personal brand here and here. )

So it's not that we don't understand the concept of branding but we don't think it applies to us for some reason and it's time we start focusing on how we can develop strong brands and not just promoting the brands of others. By consciously working on deevloping your brand, you are consciously working on developing your product, your service, actively examining how to improve your skills and ultimately, yourself.

So the next time you choose Coke over Pepsi, or vice versa, ask yourself why did I do that because in today's world, you're either a Coke or a Pepsi, and someone will have a preference based on what's on offer and how well it is sold to them.

3 comments:

Soyini said...

Couldn't have said it better myself. The process you outlined could be painful. Facing up to personal truths can be hard, but it's better to know what you can and can not do than to live in denial.

In the end you actually can feel confident about yourself. A self aware person is most definitely someone who is aware of his "brand".

trinidarlin said...

yeah...self examination is never fun but it does wonders for self improvement and ultimately for how we are perceived and how confident we feel about selling what we have to offer

trinidancer said...

So true...today I emailed a job description for a position tht I'm interested in to a friend of mine... her response was they shouldn't even advertise that job have my name all over it. I guess when persons know your brand they can look at anything from a pair of shoes or earrings right down to an apt or a job and know whether it's the right fit :)

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