Written By: Jill Huse
What do Lady Gaga and “Snooki” have in common besides questionable fashion sense and fleeting fame? They both have developed very distinct brand images. Just saying their names elicits assumptions surrounding who they are as individuals: their values, priorities, relationships and lifestyles. You also have your own brand—you just might not be aware of what it is. Or, you may be fully aware of your brand, but it’s not the brand you desire. In any case, focusing on the six steps below will help you to define your goals and work toward developing the brand you want.
Step One - Market Research | What makes you, you? Ask yourself, what are your brand attributes, core strengths and weaknesses? Now, go ask others. Do they align? Are they what you want them to be?
One of the best pieces of professional advice I ever received was to develop a board of advisors. Identify 4 to 5 people who you trust and admire, and ask them to be on your board. These individuals can help you to define and achieve your personal and professional goals.
Step Two - Define Your Brand | How do you want to be perceived by others? What do you want people to expect from you? Take control of your career by identifying what you want your brand to be. There are 3 C’s of branding: clarity, consistency and constancy. Be clear on who you are—and who you aren’t. Focus on applying your strengths to enhance your personal brand.
Step Three - Set Goals and Develop your Plan | The late Zig Ziglar said it best, “A goal properly set is halfway reached,” and “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”
You’ve defined your brand, now it’s time to set short- and long-term goals. Once your goals are outlined, create a plan that aligns with your brand and your goals. Plan your work and work your plan.
Step Four -.Enhance your Profile | Based on the plan you’ve set, look for opportunities to get involved and be a thought leader. Involvement can come in many forms, including: internal committees, volunteering in your community, civic leadership, industry networking, and more. Find something you are passionate about and get involved!
Another way to elevate your profile is through thought leadership. Write an article or speak at a conference—find ways to educate your peers on what’s happening in your space. Not only will you get promotion from this, but you will also gain instant credibility.
Don’t forget about social media. Admit it, you’ve googled yourself, right? What comes up when you do that? Where do you rank? Is it the image that you want? Make sure your online profile is current and reflective of your brand image.
Step Five - Be a Connector | Get Connected. Stay Connected. Connect Others. We all have and value the connectors in our lives! Use Social Media to support your connection efforts.
Step Six - Measure and Reassess | Don’t forget to evaluate your progress. Are you reaching the goals you set? Have you been successful at developing your brand? The answer lies in your reputation among others. Take notice of how your peers introduce you. Ask them again what they believe to be your brand attributes and strengths. This will help you determine if you’ve been successful in “branding you.”
If you don’t define your brand, someone else will. By investing the time and energy in developing your own personal brand, you have the power to create the impression you want others to have —Just ask Lady Gaga and Snooki!
I’d like to leave you with one final analogy: in life, there are brand names and generics. Which would you rather be?
Jill Huse is the marketing director for Moore & Van Allen, and is currently serving as president for the Legal Marketing Association’s Southeastern Chapter (LMASE). Jill can be reached via email email@example.com.