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Personal Brand – A simple definition

"Personal Brand" ranks high in frequently used networking terms, but ranks lower when it comes to understanding what it means. Here's something to help you remove the mystery.

During my search, “personal brand’ was one of the most bandied about terms that I heard and it was clear that everybody needed the benefits a personal brand offered.  Most of the articles or speakers offered different tools, approaches, etc. but offered lacked the ability to define 'personal brand' in simple terms.

Without the definition, the tools, ideas, formats, etc. provided were like having all the materials to build a house, but no blueprint to follow or lot to build upon.

There are lots of existing brands for cars, food, etc. - let's start with the term 'brand'.  What does it mean?  Here's the best definition I've ever heard.

A brand represents a promise.

When my colleague, Rich Faber, used this definition it really struck me how well it applies to hiring someone:  The decision to hire is based upon on what you promise to bring to the company.

Your promise: What you offer to deliver to the company, its clients, your colleagues, community and yourself - once you are in the role.

Lessons from the brand you use regularly:

  • The company has defined a brand promise that is appealing to a specific audience’s need (e.g. minivans appeal to families who need space to haul more stuff than they care to admit). 
  • You are aware of the brand promise (reliability, taste, quality, etc.), because they promote it where their target audience goes (e.g. on football games, websites, etc).
  •  You continue to buy the brand because the delivery matches both you need and what is promoted.

Now let’s apply this to your brand and hiring:

  • Your brand promise is appealing to the companies where you seek employment because you fulfill a set of needs
  • They are aware of your brand through your promotion via your network, professional groups and social media (this is done when screening possible candidates)
  • They know your delivery matches the brand through your experience (resume), network (referrals) and content provided in social media.

By approaching 'personal brand' in this way, I found it helped to demystify much of the talk and how to apply the tools offered.

A personal brand will never get you hired, but its key benefit is to separate you from other candidates competing for the role.  Being able to stand out is what gets you invited in - because the company understands your promise.

The most important part of a personal brand: Simplicity and Repetition.

Create a simple promise of what you bring. Repeat that promise in your resume, social media, references, networking and interviews.

I’m sure that personal brand coaches can add much more, but you can use this as a starting point.

Good luck today!

Mark Richards

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