You need to know your competition. And by competition, it could be your co-workers or the general population of people qualified to do your job. Because when you identify what is common to your competition, you will be able to speak to how you’re different.
“If you are your authentic self, you have no competition.”
– Scott Stratten
When you have an established personal brand, it’s hugely beneficial to you. You will be able to:
- Boost your level of recognition and stand out from your competition
- Attract the right opportunities
- Command higher compensation
- Deliver authentic, clearer and more memorable interviews
- Convey value, trust and confidence
So what are you known for in your world? What makes you different? A very simple and quick way to discover some things about your brand is to survey your friends, family, and colleagues. Ask them to pick 3 adjectives to describe you. You’ll want to reach out to at least 10 people so you can start to see some patterns. While you’re waiting for replies write down the top 3-5 adjectives you think describe you best.
Once you have your feedback, you can see if this aligns with how you think of yourself. If it does, then you’re on your way to embracing your brand. If there are adjectives people are suggesting that you are surprised to see, then you may want to rethink how you’re portraying yourself in the workplace vs. with friends. It is entirely possible friends see a different side of you from co-workers.
You can also start thinking about common occurrences in your career. What types of challenges do you find yourself facing time and time again? What types of problems do you easily solve?
Let me give you an example to make this more concrete. I go through an intense discovery call with all of my clients. In that call I search for the common thread of my client’s career.
Recently, I had a client, let’s call him John, who was a director of marketing for a hospital. Every organization he touched had significant increases to their lead generation and in turn revenue – positive ROI.
So, we wove that into his branding statement on his resume “Infusing strategy and orchestrating marketing tactics to achieve positive ROI – every time.”
We also tweaked it for his LinkedIn profile with a leading statement in the summary of “Keen eye for opportunities leads to positive ROI – every time.”
Then when he was on an interview he was asked what he does best by the CEO. His answer, “I orchestrate, author, and execute integrated marketing plans that deliver ROI every time.” The CEO replied, “You are the first person I’ve talked with that I want to invite for an in-person meeting.” This is the power of a strong personal brand that is communicated across multiple platforms.
Another way to discover your brand is to use assessments. Three assessments I have done myself, and I use with clients are:
- 360Reach by personal branding guru William Arruda. It’s a deep dive into your personal brand. Often times, the higher you move up in an organization, the more you hear what others think you want to hear. This anonymous survey gives you true feedback you can use to set yourself apart in the marketplace
- Fascination Advantage from Sally Hogshead. In her book, How the World Sees You, she talks about the 7 advantages – Innovation, Passion, Power, Prestige, Trust, Mystique and Alert. Her assessment tells you your top two advantages and provides rich language that describes how you’re different.
- StrengthsFinder 2.0 from Gallup. This assessment provides insight to your top 5 innate strengths, what you are naturally good at. Knowing this will help you figure out what benefits you bring to an employer or client.
Knowing your brand can really be the guiding light for your career. You’ll be able to make better decisions because you’ll be able to answer “is this on brand or not?”
Twenty years ago Tom Peters coined the phrase “personal brand,” and it has never been more important to make sure you are taking charge of your brand and in turn your career. Market yourself well, and you’ll be gainfully employed in the future gig economy and beyond.