We all know plenty of brands, and there are those we love and those we hate.
There is the down the road local brand that reminds us of happy (or painful) times of our life. There is that national or international brand that tells the world who we are, or we want to be – selecting this or that brand states our social status, real or wished:
Buying a Porsche or a Toyota Corolla tells the world who you are… or who you wish to be.
Whenever they can, kids at school want to wear the last fashionable outfit – of course branded.
Brands are part of our lives so much so that we don't realize it.
Brands have been around for ever: almost 2,000 years old advertisements and political slogans can even be seen on the walls of Pompeii!
Brands make the buzz today as they always did throughout time. Brands are the buzz.
But that buzzword is getting thrown around a whole lot in career and job search conversations these days too.
You might think that you shouldn’t care; why should you anyway?
Whether you’re on a job hunt, a student, or full time employed, you must think, act, and plan like a business leader.
With the surge of social media, you have not only the ability, but you now have the need to manage your own reputation, both online and offline (‘real’ life).
When you are looking for a job, your prospective employer surely searched for you on the Internet to be acquainted with you even before they meet you for the first time.
If you are already employed, your current employer certainly has an eye on your online activities, verifying if your every-day-life behavior matches company’s standards.
Be very careful: a faux-pas may get your fired!
You must know how to control your online image as this how you will be eventually judged by your prospective employer as much as your today’s boss… or even your next girl / boy friend!
You must become your own Public Relation Manager, in a very similar way companies develop and manage their online brand reputation to attract new customers and keep existing ones.
Your personal brand is all about who you are and what you want to be known for.
We discussed about building your own brand in a previous article.
Many of you asked for more:
Building your own brand is a challenge, and you asked for a step by step guide.
So here it is!
First, you need to develop your own mantra.
A mantra is not a mission statement.
Your mantra describes in a couple of words maximum who you really are, what really drives you heart and soul.
For instance, McDonald' mantra is ‘Fun family food’, Disney's is ‘Fun family entertainment’, Nike's is ‘Authentic athletic performance’, etc.
As reminded by Rachel Go, a mantra is not a commercial aiming at advertising yourself; it is your reason ‘to be’, in the most philosophical meaning of the word.
Let’s build your mantra together.
Before anything else, you need to understand how people react when they deal and interact with you.
Make a (very short) list of what makes you really different, unique – what people think of first when they think of you:
Disney and McDonald are fun, Nike is authentic.
What about you? Organized? Friendly? Punctual?
You are looking for what is called your ‘emotional modifier’.
Here are few questions you may ask yourself to find the one or two words that are you:
You may ask your best friend(s) to help answer these questions.
Ask them to answer honestly, without being afraid to possibly shock you:
You need to know how people truly relate to you if you want to be able to manage your image properly – so don’t get mad at them if they are a bit harsher than you were expecting or if they paint a picture you were not expecting!
Secondly, now that you set your emotional modifier, you must develop your descriptive modifier.
As the name imply, the descriptive modifier explains further your emotional modifier.
In the above examples, ‘family’ is the descriptive modifier of McDonald and Disney, while ‘athletic’ works for Nike.
In your case, it might be the industry you work for (or wish to join), such as ‘fashion retail’ or ‘education’, or it could be your unique skill that makes you stand against anyone else, for instance ‘leader’ or ‘creative’.
If you are, for instance, a creative leader, select the one skill that really makes you shine - you might be surprised to discover that your forte is not necessary what you always thought it would be.
You may ask yourself the following questions to help you find your descriptive modifier:
Thirdly, you will define your activity modifier.
Again, as the name implies, the activity modifier tells what is your activity.
It might be a broad description (Disney’s entertainment or Nike’s performance) or more to the point (McDonald’s food).
In your case, it might be related to your job (or prospective profession) such as ‘accountant’ or ‘teacher’, or be more generic if you define yourself otherwise than through your professional activity such as ‘artist’ or ‘communicator’.
By now, you know that the type of questions to ask to help select your very own activity modifier could be…
Fourthly, and finally, now that you have your three words, put them together in a sentence of maximum five words that makes sense.
This phrase must be easily understandable (to straightforwardly communicate who you are), easy to remember and inspiring to you.
For instance, it could be ‘Dedicated creative teacher’ or ‘inspiring figurative artist’.
You have now your very own brand mantra!
Now, what's next?
One single wrong posting may ruin forever the brand image you so painfully built for years!
You are now a brand.
Your brand that is you.
Take care of it carefully:
Like any brand (look at Nike for instance), your first mistake may cost you your image and turn your brand from positive to negative overnight.
It took Nike years and a lot of money to earn back their positive image.
Learn from their mistake - Nike had the cash and the power to come back.
You may not.