Sunday, November 27, 2011

Standing Out in the Crowd: Creating Your Brand Statement - Part III: Brand Attributes

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:

How do you do what you do? Now it’s time to discover your professional personality – or brand attributes. What are your brand attributes? Are you Decisive? Deliberate? Determined? Inventive? Analytical? In other words: How do you do what you do? How you do what you do is how you really set yourself apart.

It’s not always what you say, but how you say it. So it follows that –just as with your core competencies –there are no “bad” attributes. Do people find you impatient? -You’re driven and proactive. Have others accused you of too little tact? -You’re a clear communicator. No matter which adjectives you (or others) might attach to your personality, there’s a positive way of redefining them to communicate your professional approach. And while it’s always easier and more pleasant to lead with the “positives,” you may find that some of those “negatives” are what actually make you successful. And unique!

While you are thinking about how you do what you do, try to think about how you do what you do differently from everyone else who does what you do. Attributes play an important role in making your personal brand unique.

Ask your best friends what three adjectives come to mind when they hear your name – and write down whatever they say. Then use a thesaurus and find a few synonyms that convey those traits in more professional terms. So, once again, just as with your core competency, the most important thing is that you choose attributes that are true. Here are a couple of practical guidelines.

  • Compatibility Rule: You can’t be tough and gentle. You can’t be spontaneous and strategic. Don’t choose attributes that appear to be in conflict with one another.

  • Two-Thirds Rule: When buying a product there are usually three primary factors that drive purchasing decisions; however we seldom get all three, so choose based on benefits of the other two. If you’re a new college grad, the primary factors prospective employers consider when choosing candidates are likely Education, Experience and Compensation (Price). So, if you’ve earned good grades from a good school, but have no relevant experience, then you may have to offer prospective employers the benefit of lower compensation. If you’ve graduated cum laude from an Ivy League school and worked several related internships, then employers probably shouldn’t expect you to come cheap. Whatever the three factors are in your category, you need to choose the two you’re going to focus on and forget about the third.
Now, write a list of all the adjectives that describe your professional personality. Think about what each adjective might communicate to your “customers”, then circle two or three that you really like. Read them aloud. Read them again in a different order. Do they sound like you? If so, these are your new brand attributes! Write them down. My Brand Attributes: I am __________, __________, and __________.

Next up: Creating Your Brand Statement: Brand Identity

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