It starts when we apply to college and continues through job applications and work presentations. How do we differentiate ourselves?
If everyone is bright, dynamic with similar skills and experience, what is going to separate your application, your presentation...you from the myriad of others?
Your personal brand is formed when you understand why you stand out from the crowd. It's identifying and communicating an image of what's authentic to you.
There are many people who do what you do; are you able to explain what makes you unique?
A concise answer to this question allows you to position yourself to your target audience. If you can’t clarify what makes you unique, how will others form a perception of you?
- Connect to your purpose.
Understand the “Why” of what you’re doing. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it ~ Simon Sinek. If you haven’t watched Simon Sinek's TED talk, do so now. Most people can describe 'what they do' and 'how they do it,' but they can’t tap into 'why they do it.'
- Ask why your existing clients chose you. Who knows better than the people who chose you over the competition? Help them drill down by probing beyond the “I think you’re good” response. Ask, Why do you think I’m good? What exactly do I do best? How am I helping you?” This is enlightening. What you think is important to your clients, may differ from what they think. Find out what they value and it will cement your relationship.
- Identify your passion. What aspect of your job do you enjoy most? This would translate into your strengths. Gain insight from performance reviews and co-worker feedback. A theme should surface here. When you love what you do, you do it well.
- Make a list of your character traits or core values. Branding can be your life experiences, sense of humor, communication style. Think beyond the results you provide to personal core values. Are you an excellent listener? Do you follow-through well? Are you direct? These character traits define your brand. Lead with them.
- Compose your 30 second elevator speech. Answer these three questions:
- Who you are? This is not your title, but what it is you do.
- Whom do you serve? These would be the recipients of what you do. Get granular here, who is it that benefits from what you do?
- How do you help? What exactly is it that you are providing to the people you serve? Are you saving them time, providing financial security, finding them a home to raise their children in?
The most significant thing about identifying your brand attributes is in order to succeed you must deliver what you promise. Do what you say you’re going to do. Walk the talk. Your clients are watching you.
People choose to work with people, not companies. They buy you first, or they buy nothing at all. Let them see what it is they’re buying.
There really is no one else exactly like you. Don't you agree?
Adapted from Theresa Merrill “What Makes You Unique?” http://ow.ly/NBzA301X1EO