The purpose of your personal brand is to communicate with your target audience — potential clients, employers and people who might be able to refer you to them.
And, doubtless, you’ve taken time to think long and hard about who your audience is, how you can help them and why they should choose to work with you specifically.
You’ve also figured out your stories and know exactly how to show your value — quickly and effectively.
In other words, you’ve got your personal brand figured out.
Now, what if I told you that you were leaving 70% of your brand’s power on the table? What if you found out that you could make your brand 2, 5 even 10 times more effective than it is today in securing you job offers and clients?
You would do everything in your power to change that one thing that will make you exponentially more effective, right?
Of course you would. Anyone with a brain would.
And the good news is that it is easy, quick and cheap. Bang-o!
You can make your brand exponentially more effective with only a little effort when you use this secret
The secret is brand recognition. You know, the fact that you can spot a McDonald’s miles down the highway from just the red and yellow sign. Or that you know that the shirts with an alligator insignia are Lacoste?
Well, we are going to put that same power to work for you right now.
Let’s start by defining your brand. Right here, right now. Seriously, it only works if you put the effort into it.
Grab a pen or open up a document and write down 1-3 sentences on exactly what your personal brand is.
Okay, our next step is to distill it! cull it down to its essence. Take it from what you wrote to 2-4 words. One of my brands is “Goes above and beyond” (that is a pretty good one, if you think it applies and want to steal it).
The idea here is that you want to capture the essence of your brand. Chipper PR expert. Ruby on Rails geek. Elegant graphic design. Creative copywriter. What works for you?
Got yours? Nice! (Don’t worry if you don’t – take your time. And, if you need more help, we’ve got you covered! Go check out my free career tools, which will help you get to the core of your brand!)
Okay, now that we’ve got your brand in mind, we need to consider the three aspects of developing brand recognition: say it, show it and repeat it!
Brand Recognition: Say it. Show it. Repeat it.
Let’s start with saying it. There are lots of ways to say your story – you can write it in any number of places: your resume, your email newsletter, your website, your cover letter… your twitter profile! Anywhere there is writing, you can say your brand’s essence.
Next, you want to show it! This one steps up your presentation a notch. Showing moves from just plain ole writing it, to actually proving that you are your brand (and that you aren’t just faking it).
In my case, when I applied to jobs with the brand was “goes above and beyond” I made it very clear. My application looked very different and was perfectly catered to each position, I followed up by phone, I wrote physical thank you notes and I generally created some kind of “mini-project” based on a conversation in an interview. For example, one company was really into personality typing their employees, which I also happen to love. After my first interview, I created a 4-page presentation on my personality type (based on 3 tests I had previously taken) and presented internet research on the strengths and weaknesses of my personality.
What could you do to show your brand? Build a website, meet lots of people from the company, send in unrequested samples, use recycled paper? The way you showcase your brand is only limited by your creativity.
The “secret” ingredient that will make your brand exponentially more effective: REPETITION!
And, finally, now that we have defined, told and shown your brand, its time for the ever-important repetition. This is the secret ingredient that will make your brand exponentially more effective.
Effective repetition requires that each and every time you interact with the company, you say, show, and live your brand. When you are picking out your interviewing outfit, pick one that best fits your brand. When you have a follow-up conversation, think about how you can showcase your brand. When you are in an interview, think about your brand. Say, show, repeat.
Figuring out your best brand and communicating it strongly and consistently to a prospective employer or client is an utterly fantastic way to declare your value and get hired.
Say, show, repeat. It will make all the difference.
Rebecca Rapple has been featured in Harvard Business Review, Business Insider, Keith Ferrazzi’s My Greenlight and more. You can learn more about the fundamentals of a remarkable job search on her site, The Resume Revolution.