|More than an image, a feeling.|
Transforming into strategies and actions what authors recommend on books, lectures, courses and workshops can sometimes become a very difficult task to perform, and even more for those who don’t have the professional preparation or don’t follow proper advice.
One such issue is the development of a personal brand.
It's not a secret the many high-caliber professionals who are now sitting at their homes without a job, or doing work for which they are definitely over-qualified as professionals (the so-called underemployment).
Many of these people have spent several years of their lives working for the same company under the illusion of a permanent contract and then they face the urgent need to develop a personal brand strategy to turn all these years in something valuable as to be hired for, when they get to be laid off.
What is the purpose of a personal brand strategy?
You know I like to use a simple language to talk about these things, so that we can all understand them easily and, above all, that you be able to apply in real life what we share here.
The purpose of a personal brand strategy is to identify within yourself what makes you different (or whatever uniqueness you want to be identified with), make a value proposition that helps you stand out from other professionals in your industry and ultimately become the option of choice when it comes to being hired or get new customers if you decided to open up your own business.
As always, a concept that sounds great in theory (who wouldn’t want to stand out from the crowd and get that job in which he’s going to get paid what he really deserves?) but it becomes difficult to turn it into a plan of action.
A case study: My dear friend Monica Perez.
Which is the best way to learn something? By putting it into practice. Today I want to share with you a case of personal brand strategy successfully implemented. This is about my friend Monica Perez, whom I met while taking a "Community Management" course.
Define your personal brand: Monica is a photographer.
Simple, straightforward and to-the-point. Your brand mustn’t be somewhere along the way, between one thing and another. No. Your brand is very simple. Monica is a photographer. Not a plumber, architect or a doctor. She is a photographer.
A personal brand must be clearly defined from the very beginning. There can’t be any ambiguity, or be open to second interpretations. In Monica’s case, any of the persons who have had the pleasure of meeting and sharing with her, we all know that she’s a photographer.
Make it a valuable proposition: it’s about passion, personality and other things.
And not only a photographer but a photographer who, at least for me, is different from others. In each of her photos, Monica conveys the passion she feels for what she does. And that is a fundamental element in building a personal brand: The passion we feel for what we do! When you do things in a passionate way, it’s very difficult to do the wrong thing.
Monica’s case isn’t like some photographers who simply take pictures for a living. Not at all. I really think that for her is impossible to one day take a picture without giving her very best to make it a great shot.
The hardest part of any branding strategy is to achieve this kind of differentiation. Generating the value proposition that makes you different. Many professionals simply become one more on the bunch just because they can’t cross that line, which separates them from others.
And isn’t only about your professional value, but also about who you are as a person. About the core values that motivate you, the things with which you identify. In a word, your integrity as a person, as an individual.
The aim of your brand strategy: Becoming the option of choice.
If you have a strategy that doesn’t allow you to achieve its specific goal either the strategy is not adequate, or such goal isn’t right for the strategy you’re using. Nothing more to it.
In the case study we are talking about today, I'm sure I will tell Monica whenever I have a photographic project to shoot. She has become my option of choice on top of others who have failed to build a solid brand proposition and distinguish themselves as Monica did.
Notice how, on a very simple way, Monica has managed to develop a brand proposition that has allowed her, at least for me, become a preferred option.
Many professionals believe the goal of their personal brand strategy should be something like "hire me instead of that other guy" or "do business with me in lieu of someone else."
Personally I think a brand proposition must go a little further and propose something like: "You’re the one who loses if you don’t choose me".
Don’t you think?
Related post: Advertising: The Power of a Testimonial.
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