09 Mar How to Market Your Professional Brand
Success in securing a position at any age, in any industry, depends on your ability to successfully market and sell yourself. At the end of the day….The best self marketers (usually) win!….
In 2016, powerful personal branding is essential. The labour market
is changing. Has changed! Employers are focusing on ’employer branding’ so they can attract the best talent….and the ‘talent’ are building personal brands -so they can work for the best companies.
The labour marker is becoming about ‘brand match making’ – you want to find a match for your brand, they want to find a match for their brand – and focusing on articulating and marketing your personal brand is the best way to find your perfect match!
Its time to get serious about personal branding!
Do you sometimes look at people in your organisation, or industry and think ‘how did they get that job? That reputation? That success?… I could do a better job than them!?” …Chances are they have probably nailed the whole “self marketing and branding thing”. They likely packaged themselves up, put a little bow on top, and presented themselves as a ‘gift’ and a solution to employers.
It’s time to gift wrap yourself! Or give yourself a wrap!
To get to where you want to be in your career….you need to understand, articulate and market your own professional brand.
Think of your professional brand as a business. A business needs goals, a marketing pitch, a clear message and a clearly defined market. When you know who you are marketing yourself to, you can develop better marketing pitches.
You need to develop a strategic marketing plan, just like a business would. Don’t wait for luck to happen, or to be discovered or head hunted….. Take control and get about marketing yourself.
How do you market yourself?
Here are some of my tips for marketing your professional brand and get yourself noticed by the people that you want to notice you.
Articulate your brand by identifying the problems you solve
The elevator pitch is ‘old school’ – it reminds me of the old fashioned sales approach – where a sales person would call you up and talk at you for 5 minutes and not give you a chance to hang up. The smart sales people now know that you need to develop trust, gather information and identify what the pain points are and then present a solution. Same goes for selling yourself.
The elevator pitch is still relevant, but the focus needs to change. There is no one size fits all ‘elevator pitch’. The key is to understand who you are talking to and what they may need help with – and then you can tell them how you can help them.
To be ready for any ‘elevator’ like situation, where someone may ask what you do – keep it high level and brief while you dig around for more information from them, so you can tailor your sales pitch.
To start identifying your brand, prepare and articulate punchy answers to the following questions.
- What do you do?
- What problems do you solve?
- What are your achievements? What results have you had?
- Why are you unique / better than the rest of them?
- What do you want to do/ achieve?
Use your answers to these questions on your resume, your linkedIN profile, your cover letters and in all networking situations. When someone says to you “what do you do?” – you need to give them more than your job title, by showing them how you add value – whether it be saving employer’s money, time, resources, bringing in business, streamlining processes, improving operations, optimising the use of technology in the business, ensuring positive customer experiences…..or whatever it is you do – convey it with passion, purpose and conviction.
2. Sooo….WHY YOU?
Why are you better than the other applicants, what do you have that they don’t have? What’s your point of difference…or your USP (unique selling point)? Does your personal marketing material articulate this, leaving no doubt of your awesomeness? Is it clear on your resume, linked in profile, websites etc?
Struggling to find your unique selling points and your own brand? Get a piece of paper – write “I am awesome because…” on the top…now fill in that page with all the reasons you are awesome, valuable, skilled and unique. Then look at it…read it….and OWN it!
The basis of your brand will come from 3 things:
- What you call yourself – Choose a title that best represents what you do and makes sense to your market…without being vague or too crazy. For example, instead of ‘Business Development Manager’ – I have used the term “Market Expansion Specialist – Education” for a BDM client who specialised in education. (you should also give some attention to the key words you use on LinkedIn, for search purposes – but that is another blog altogether – it can help to say Market Expansion Specialist / Business Development Manager – Education in your primary title on LinkedIn so you are still found….and when you are….you make more of an impact.
- The words you choose to describe yourself – choose 3 punchy words that summarise your points of difference, your capability and ultimately your brand – ie “Insight. Intuition. Innovation”, or “Attentive. Analytical. Responsive” or whatever sums you up, in 3 words. Get as crazy as you want, depending on your audience.
- Your personal motto – Develop a one sentence statement, that is memorable and brings the above point home – eg. “I smash sales targets out of the ball park”, “I leverage new technology to automate your business” or whatever you would say conversationally about yourself, with attention to how it helps employers solve problems. Personality is key and you need it to punch your point home and make a lasting, memorable impression!
Who are you targeting your message to?
Now that you know why your so damn employable and valuable. Go out there and tell everyone. But give thought to who are you telling and targeting. The clearer you are on your audience, the more specific you can be with your marketing and execution
Research your audience. Know the employer – company values….look at their news, their blogs, their problems, their successes – and identify where you fit in the company.
Hunt down the people in the business that are in the area you want to be in (as well as the HR people) and connect with them on LinkedIn.
Marketing yourself and personal branding goes much further than the resume, LinkedIn profile and bio’s…..its your voice, image, presence, what you say and to who. See my previous post “Your secret weapon to success”
Personal Branding and Marketing people is my passion. YOU Unlimited is your personal marketing department in your small business of one. Let me package up your brand and showcase it to your market…whatever it is and whatever you do.
You gotta pop…. Break the rules and take some chances!
Stay awesome. To your success,
Founder and Managing Director