These four questions are a great way to hone in on the value you provide, and ensure that your network’s perception of you aligns with your perception of yourself. Once they are the same, and you are delivering on your brand promise, I guarantee you will start attracting more opportunities into your life. I believe it because I see this alignment in action every day. Here are some questions I ask myself on a regular basis to make sure my self perception and my network’s perception of me remain aligned.
Is your self perception and network’s perception aligned?
1. Do you have a brand promise? If you’re not sure what you’re promising people at the most basic level, take a step back for a moment. What makes you unique? What is your way of doing things? I recommend starting with Meg Guiseppi’s personal branding worksheet. If you already know your brand promise, do you live up to your brand promise? How can you be sure?
2. Does your immediate network understand your brand promise? Leverage your immediate network of family, friends, and colleagues to grow awareness of your promise. Your closest contacts – truly, all of your contacts – should understand why people would want to work with you over someone else. How do you know if their current understanding of your brand promise is accurate?
3. What are the emotional reasons why people will work with you? The brand of Nike is the feeling inside you have about Nike. As humans, we’re emotional first, and rational second. Does the messaging of your brand promise appeal to the most basic human emotions, or is it too focused on features (what you provide) rather than benefits (how what you provide helps your customer/employer/client/etc.)?
4. Do you know how people describe you after they meet you? The taste left in someone’s mouth when they first meet you is the most important taste to get right. It forms the foundation of the rest of your relationship. Some people close off immediately if you push them the wrong way. Understand how your brand interacts with others’ by asking people what they thought of you when they first met you. Open up a continuous feedback loop so you can constantly improve.
Bonus quick tip:
Do you have a logo or professional headshot? Most people are visual by nature. Sights evoke emotions, emotions solidify memories, and collective memories fuel brands. Is your logo or headshot consistently applied to all your personal marketing materials (online profiles, email signature, resume, etc.)? If not, you’re missing out on opportunities to strengthen your brand touchpoints. Only focus on promotional steps after you can confidently answer the first core questions above. After you’ve put some thought into them, continue the discussion: which question was hardest for you? Why? What tips do you have based on your own experience?
Pete Kistler is a leading Online Reputation Management expert for Generation Y, a top 5 finalist for Entrepreneur Magazine’s College Entrepreneur of 2009, one of the Top 30 Definitive Personal Branding Experts on Twitter, a widely read career development blogger, and a Judge for the 2009 Personal Brand Awards. Pete manages strategic vision for Brand‐Yourself.com.