In previous posts about the importance of a personal brand, we concentrated on how to create a personal brand using web tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Now it’s time to create your own personal brand statement. A brand statement will help your cover letter or resume stand out from thousands of others! In the next several blog postings, I will share information with you taken from leading personal branding expert and career advancement coach, Robert Allen Paul, and his “Company Of One” presentation at Buena Vista University. I would recommend his valuable message to every student. (Part I: Your Brand Part II: Core Competencies Part III: Brand Attributes Part IV: Brand Identity) Part V: Brand Promise:
What Will You Do For Me?
The problem with trying to build your brand identity by managing word-of-mouth is that it simply takes too long. You don’t have 30 years to do it the way Sony did. You may not even have 30 months. So, what do you do? You think about what you want consumers to say and then teach them how to say it. Marketers call this your Brand Promise, but it’s really just a statement of benefits.
The first step in developing a benefits statement is determining what those benefits might be. Since benefits are usually tied to features, we will define your features as your Brand Attributes. So, once you’ve established those, you will just have to attach some relevant benefits to the back end. Put another way, after you have told me how you do what you do, you will have to tell me what that will do for me.
You may already have an opinion regarding the benefits you provide prospective “customers” (i.e., employers), but by now, you also know it is not your opinion that really matters. What do your current “customers” say? Have you asked them? They’re the only ones who really know what it’s like to work with you, and most of them will be happy to share their thoughts. In fact, most will be delighted you even asked. Asking also helps you develop a little Brand Equity (which will be critical when you start networking).
So ask them. Reach out to your professors and past employers for a quick, simple benefits assessment. Based on your experience with me, what do you like best about the way I work? What are the biggest benefits to you? You may be surprised by the insights you gather –and how different they are from what you had expected.
When you discover your customer benefits from the customer’s point-of-view, you may also be surprised by how naturally they relate to your brand attributes. For instance, if you are majoring in marketing, and you tend to be “analytical, inventive and aggressive” well, as a result, your employer might benefit from “marketing programs that are on target, on time and on purpose.”
Let’s say you have decided the brand attributes that best describe you are “inquisitive, strategic and self-motivated.” What could the resulting benefits of employing such a person be from the employer’s point-of-view? Perhaps you can offer the right company “an opportunity to maximize project results with a minimum of supervision.”
Aside from ensuring your benefits are related to your attributes, the only other key to developing an effective brand promise is to keep it as simple as possible. Remember you want consumers to remember it. So, choose the most common benefits expressed by your “customers,” summarize them in one simple sentence and then include it in everything you do.
It doesn’t have to be catchy. It doesn’t have to be clever. It just has to be crystal clear. Clear enough that both you and your prospective customers can repeat it. Again and again.
Make a list of your customer benefits, and then create a simple brand promise that communicates the most important ones. That sentence should probably begin with the words “I offer the right company” and, once again, be followed by some sort of active verb phrase (“an opportunity to maximize project results,” etc.). Once you’re satisfied with your new brand promise, write it down. My Brand Promise: As a result, I offer the right company _____________________________________________________________
Next up: Creating Your Brand Statement: Brand Vision