When networking, interviewing for a job, or pitching an idea to a supervisor or investor, it’s important to communicate the benefit you provide. A personal brand needs to be: Compelling, Clear, Creative, and Consistent. Marketing is about creating interest in what you offer, and marketing yourself has similarities to marketing for profit or non-profit organizations.
Step One: Discover a Compelling Purpose. Assess yourself, uncover hidden talents, and look for clues to purpose. Find the intersection between what you are best at, what you love do, and what the world needs most.
Step Two: Define a Clear Promise. Create a personal mission statement, or Unique Selling Proposition (USP). A value statement communicates who you are, what you do, and why. It tells how you add value, based on your values.
Step Three: Design Creative marketing materials that express Personality (and the Promise). Express your authentic style with your choices for colors, fonts, and images. Create graphics for logos and business cards, and a tagline to communicate your brand. Use these for email, social media, and websites. Marketing materials can range from print materials like brochures to videos on a website, and can vary greatly in cost. Channels can include social media like Facebook and Pinterest, Youtube, etc. Get creative to achieve wow factor without spending a lot.
Connect with emotions:
- Focus on benefits you provide; what’s in it for them.
- Aim at the heart. You might use a colorful metaphor that describes the benefit, process, or result of what you do.
- Communicate your why. Simon Sinek, the author of “Start With Why,” says “People don’t buy what we do, they buy why we do it.” (his TED Talk) They are also most interested in our why.
- Tell your story. Describe how you first became interested in what you do or a time that you made an impact.
Capture attention: make your message sticky with the Success Model from Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath and contagious (talks at Google 40:47) with the Stepps Model from Jonah Berger’s “Contagious: Why Things Catch on.”
Concentrate on benefits rather than features. The examples below outline the features, benefits, and value provided by a product, service, and an individual. For a personal brand, features are often expertise or skills. Fish for the hook that will reach people. See also the 30 Elements of Consumer Value at Harvard Business Review.
Download the Marketing U pdf handout for a list of more benefits and the value that they provide.
Collect concrete examples and testimonials. Use CARE to look for times when you faced a Challenge and took Action to achieve a Result for Examples. Showcase your homerun accomplishments and highlight their value with numbers when possible. For example: “reduce training time by 50% with interactive training program.”
Quantify results with numbers:
- Saved, served, sold, supervised
- Money made
Step Four: Deliver a Consistent Position. Always Be Communicating the value, and exceed expectations to provide a WOW customer experience. People (and businesses) that are exceptional MAKE U want to work with them (or buy what they are selling). To stand out: go above and beyond, customize offers for a personal touch, delight with pleasant surprises, and provide extreme customer service with fast response and follow-through.
Definitions from the Marketing Fundamentals Canvas at cezary.co:
- Brand: a promise to deliver benefits that are different from the competition. Perceptions you want to create with user experience, stories, images, words, name, logo, design.
- Mission: The purpose and reason for being
- Vision: Long-term, aspirational goals. What will the world look like in the future if you succeed?
- Key message: The main idea to communicate
Additional tools in your marketing toolkit