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July 13, 2010

Brand Me – Defining Yourself

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Define yourself. When beginning, this is the first step in branding yourself. You need to realize that you are very good, even an expert, at what you do. You surround yourself, either in your job or in your circle of friends, with others who are experts in what you know. Then, you begin to believe that everyone knows what you know and you see yourself as average and begin making mental statements such as “What do I have to offer that is different or unique? Everyone knows what I know.”

WRONG.

You have friends, neighbors, and associates that come to you asking for your help and advice. Or perhaps asking, “can you teach me how to do that?” What kinds of questions do they ask you? Ask yourself this powerful question:

“What sort of things are people asking me when they ask ‘Can I pick your brain for a minute?'”

Fire Your Financial Advisor suggests the following to stimulate ideas on who you are and how you can stand out:

  • “Do you have a certain skill where someone said ‘Can you teach me that?’ Or, have you overcome a certain experience, such as death of a loved one, divorce, financial ruin, raising children, passed a training, etc? Sometimes, we discredit our own uniqueness because ‘it’s just our life.’ However, there are others that have questions or problems that want answers that YOU can offer.” They go on to suggest you ask yourself the following questions:
  • “What was I being asked to teach or do when someone asked ‘Can I pick your brain for a minute?’ What skill/hobby did a person ask me to teach them? What difficult experiences did I overcome? What do I constantly get compliments on that I downplay? What ‘quirky’ things do I do?”

Be known as the expert in one thing – stand for something! Find your niche, something you are passionate about.

Create a signature look. Something people will recognize immediately. I’ve often told people if you were to find a piece of product literature on the ground and the brand or logo had been torn off, would you know who created the piece? If it came from Apple Computer you would. They have their signature look to everything they create. You can too.

This could be your unique name or a unique nick name. A friend of mine has a very common name and has become an expert in social media. He created a signature and calls himself “SocialSam.” Laurie Pehar Borsh from Laurie Pehar Borsh Personal PR Productions has a simple logo she always associates with her name.

Maybe your signature look is a tagline. My son has a tagline or mantra of “No food, only music the doctor says!” Yes, he is a musician. For others, their signature look is their attire or hair. For others it is a greeting. An Irishman I know always answers the phone or greets people in the morning with “Top of the mornin!” This is his signature.

Maybe it is as simple as a unique business card. A good friend of mine just handed me his new business card that looked and felt like a circuit board! What is unique about what I do, what I love, what I know?

Step back from yourself and ask yourself, how do others see me?

Become well known for one thing – you’ve got to stand for something or you stand for nothing. Find your niche. This is NOT the time to play it safe. Doing just enough to blend in to the crowd will get you just that, you’ll blend in and when someone needs your advice or expertise they will not be able to find you. Creating a personal elevator pitch with your “who” and “do what” statement followed by your “why” statement will keep you on track and focused on your goals. Without clearly understanding your personal brand, it will be difficult to stand out and be found when someone is looking for you.

Your “who” and “do what” statement is a very simple thought about yourself. Keep it simple and easy to understand. It answers the question “who are you and what do you do?” concisely and in a fashion that is memorable.

For example, which says more and has more impact:

“My name is Jack and I am a business consultant.”

Or

“I’m Jack. I help business owners and sales professionals grow their clientele.”

Simple, yet powerful. You answer the question of whom you help and what you help them get or do. Depending on what type of professional you are, your “who” and “do what” statement should include the following elements:

  • As a business owner this statement should express who your target market is and what problems you solve for that market.
  • As an employee this statement should express what problems and obstacles you tackle for your managers and bosses.
  • As a salesperson this statement should express who your target customers are and what problems you solve for them. It should also express what goals you are helping your boss achieve through your sales expertise.

Here is another example. “Telecom Senior Executive who took a startup to $120MM annual sales with $28MM EBITDA in less than three years.” This directly speaks to a potential client or employer and says who you are and what you can do for them backed up by a history of success.

Now tell me, why do you do it anyway? Why do you get up every day to help them get what they want? My favorite interview question is “What gets you out of bed every¬† morning?” An alarm clock is the wrong answer! I’m not looking for a specific answer but rather to discover the passion driving someone’s life. Your “why” not only drives the choices you make, but it also affects how others connect emotionally to what you do for them. The why is reflected in everything you do. It completes your personal brand.

Michael Port, Entrepreneur Magazine has this why statement: “Because I want to help people think bigger about who they are and what they offer the world.” He goes on to say, “I can go one step further and turn my why statement into a tag line to spread my personal brand and increase my sales potential, ‘The guy to call when you are tired of thinking small.’ This expresses the most fundamental, deepest part of my character.” Michael Port, Entrepreneur Magazine – January 2010

Guy Kawasaki, The Art of the Start, inspired by John Doerr, says,

“The best reason to start an organization is to make meaning – to create a product or service that makes the world a better place.

Does the product or service you are pursuing change lives for the better? Change the world we live in for the better? Offer something incredible previously out of reach of the average person?”

If what you are doing provides one of these benefits or similar benefits and fits your personal “why” you are on the road to success. Your brand is beginning to take shape. Your personal brand is built on a solid foundation. With your “who”, “do what”, and “why” statements in hand and in your heart go forth and “make meaning.”


For this and other articles by Brad Hess, please go to http://www.mymark.com/articles. MyMark, LLC is a media rich professional social networking website that gives you the tools to use social media optimization to enhance your search engine optimization and generate revenue. Visit http://www.mymark.com/ today to set up your free account!

4 Responses to “Brand Me – Defining Yourself

    avatar David Lynch says:

    Very good article on branding and standing out from the crowed. It certainly got me thinking. Just having your logo as a brand is not enough these days so thanks its given me food for thought.

    avatar Philip says:

    Very poetic.

    I found this to be a very good article he has made a very good synopsis of a lot of the things I have tried to tie into my site throughout the six years that I have had a site. In my case my brand is me.

    avatar Jason Webb says:

    That was a well thought out and well written article. There are some jewels there for those of us not about to embark on starting a new business. thanks for sharing!
    Thanks and Regards/-
    Jason Webb

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