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The Now, The New & The Next in Careers

Personal Branding Articles

Stay ahead of the curve with insights from our CTL Associates.

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  • 16 Jan 2011 4:43 PM | Anonymous

    By Gerry Corbett

    As public relations experts, we strive to successfully deliver the goods for our customers and clients. “Brand” for us is critical, and a solid reputation is what is important at the end of the day.

    Words are the vital threads that we weave together in a cohesive statement that fully and succinctly describe the organization so that it strongly resonates with customers and other audiences. Yet who among us has taken the time to consider a statement that describes who and what we are and the value we bring to those with whom we work and interact?

    Perhaps it is time to treat ourselves as clients and spend the intellectual capital required to effectively brand ourselves.

    So how best can you smartly craft a brand statement that will help you strongly resonate with customers, clients, friends, and family?

    Here is a 10 step approach that can help you encapsulate the essence of "you." Bear in mind this exercise may take up to 2 weeks to 2 months depending on how responsive your friends and colleagues are and the amount of brain power you dedicate.

    The basic framework for a smart brand statement is typically 1 sentence that succinctly captures your value in a way that is memorable and intuitive.

    The structure might be as follows but use your best judgment based on your own style: “I am (your name) and (an/a) (descriptive attribute) (title/role noun) (descriptive verb of value) (object of value noun).” For example, “I am John Doe and a versatile and experienced PR brand strategist focused on surfacing and promoting the vital attributes for organizations to strongly bond with their audiences.”

    Statement Guidelines: As noted, the simpler the statement, the likelihood it will be more memorable. So keep these criteria in mind as you craft your brand description.

    1. Keep it simple

    2. A reminder of the beneficial effects of your talents/skills

    3. Intuitive

    4. Understandable

    5. Easy to remember

    6. Paints a picture

    7. Universally understood


    1. For each session that you spend on this exercise, sit down in a comfortable place with your favorite instrument of composition and beverage of choice.

    2. Compose a list of your six best characteristics as you view them. Be succinct but descriptive. For example, “versatile,” “strong writer,” “insightful strategist,” “intuitive thinker,” etc.

    3.  Ask five of your best friends to compose a similar list of your best six characteristics as they view them. 

    4. Next ask five colleagues at your place of work/business to do the same assuming you are actively employed. If not, ask five colleagues in your support group.

    5. With all characteristics in hand, create a 6 by 11 matrix so that you can assess, cross check and select the characteristics that are most common among you, your friends and work colleagues. Make sure that the most common characteristics or traits personally resonate with you.

    6. With your characteristics narrowed down and in hand, construct three sample statements based on the framework noted above that are authentic, fit your thinking and match your character.

    7. With the three statements in hand, enlist the help of your colleagues and friends to provide to you their favorite two statements.

    8. Go through the same exercise as step 5 and select the two most preferred statements. And sleep on it.

    9. With fresh eyes and brain, select the one statement that most resonates with you and commit it to memory.

    10. From here on in, use this statement religiously and consistently until you decide it is time for a new role for yourself. Feel free to use this statement for the introduction on your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter profiles or any other social infrastructure platforms that you employ.

  • 06 Sep 2010 5:41 PM | Anonymous

    By Stephanie Clark

    As a resume writer and interview coach, I am blessed with wonderful clients that run the gamut from entry level to senior executives. Some have a great handle on how to self-promote; most do not. And surprisingly, this isn’t always related to stature, experience, or education.

    Business depends on growth, and growth depends on the cumulative impact of each employee's individual performance. Your performance of a key function absolutely impacts the bottom line.

    Knowing yourself, your character, strengths, talents, and skills, relating these to your performance, and then demonstrating how your performance influenced your company’s year-end performance report, is an essential aspect of career management that impacts not only the interview, but also your annual review and other business conversations.

    Your character, strengths, talents, education and skills—your credentials or value proposition—must be articulated clearly. They must be connected, in your interview conversation, to your employer’s bottom line.

    In relating stories of how your performance improved a previous employer’s business, you establish yourself as an employee who provides a return on investment. That is, investing in your pay will produce a return through your performance. So many cannot articulate these workplace stories, and indeed, have no idea of what kind of return they offer.

    And what of you and your return? Any ideas? I encourage you to create a list of five or more aspects of your current or last job, a list of responsibilities or accountabilities that contribute to business growth or sustainability.

    If you are an administrative assistant, you must be organized and organize others; a network administrator, you must proactively keep the network humming along; a salesperson, you must not only keep existing accounts, but you must add new ones.

    Challenge yourself to create your list!

  • 05 Apr 2010 7:48 PM | Anonymous

    By Randi Bussin

    Goal setting is a key component and one of the first steps in helping clients extract their personal brands. Without goals and a defined target audience, it is impossible to know how to express and where to point your personal brand. Goal setting helps: you get clarity on what you want in your career.

    How do you actually go about doing this? Here are 10 steps to goal setting and goal attainment.

    1. Develop a big picture of what you want to accomplish in your career/life. Take a piece of paper or use Microsoft Word and write down everything you want to accomplish in the next ten years of your life. Be sure to include goals for all major areas of your life, including career, community service, family, health, financial and hobbies.  As you identify your goals, be sure they are goals you want to achieve, and not ones desired by others in your life, such as your parents, your significant other, or employer.

    2. Prioritize the goals by time frame. Go back to the list you just created and break the long list of goals into three smaller time frames. For example, you could categorize them by short-term (next 12 months), medium-term (next 2 to 5 years) and then longer term (6 to 10 years).

    3. Rewrite your short-term goals in SMART goal format. SMART goals are:

    Specific – This means answering the “who, what, when, where, and why” questions. The “why” question is very important. You need to understand why you want this goal and how the goal aligns with your values.

    Measurable – This establishes how you are going to measure progress toward the attainment of the goals you have set.

    Attainable – Make sure the goal is within reach, but also stretches you to strive and to think big.

    Relevant or Realistic – A realistic goal is an objective which you are both motivated to achieve and realistically able to do so.

    Timely or Time Bound – A goal with a time frame sets your subconscious mind into motion to begin working on it. With no time frame, there is no sense of urgency to reach the goal.

    4. Make your goals visible and review them daily. This action of putting your goals in a visible place sets the intention to the greater universe and becomes a daily reminder of what it is you are trying to accomplish. Review your goals regularly and revise them if you reach them too easily, or if they are too difficult. Also, if you notice a deficit in your skills despite achieving a goal, then think about what you would like to do to fix this.

    5. Identify the obstacles that are getting in your way. Think about what is going to get in the way of your achieving your goals. What within yourself is holding you back? What changes can you make to move forward?

    6. Identify the knowledge, skills and competencies you need to move forward. Which skills do you need to be at the top of your game? What one skill, if you developed it, would have the greatest impact on your life or career? What one skill, if you developed it and did it consistently, would help you achieve your most important goal? Identify it and begin to work on it every single day. 

    7. Recruit and enlist your support team. To achieve lofty goals, you will need the help and support of many people. Who is your support team or board of advisors? Identify the list of family members, work colleagues and mentors you need in your life. You list could also include your coach or an industry consultant.

    8. Celebrate successes, which boost your confidence. When you have achieved a goal, take time to celebrate reaching the milestone. Treat yourself to something “meaningful” to mark the accomplishment. You do not have to spend a large sum of money; it could be a simple token such as a DVD, a drink with a friend, or something more extravagant such as a massage.

    9. Organize your 12-month goals into smaller more manageable steps. Planning is very important to reaching your goals. The 80/20 rule states that 80% of your results will come from 20% of your efforts. So how will you spend your time? Plan out the next 12 months, month by month. For each month, list two or three key activities that you must accomplish that would have the most profound impact on the bigger picture.

    10. Take action every day. Many baby steps taken consistently add up to big goals. Just do one thing, one little thing each day that will keep the momentum going and keep you moving forward.

  • 13 Feb 2010 9:20 PM | Anonymous

    By Randi Bussin

    Personal Branding: it’s an opportunity for job seekers, career changers, and small business owners to figure out what separates them from their peers and to rise above the noise in this crowded business and employment environment.

    Personal Branding is for EVERYONE, not just consumer packaged goods firms with large marketing and branding budgets. It is about identifying, and then communicating, what makes you unique, relevant, and differentiated for your target audience, so that you can reach your career or business goals. If you understand your strengths, skills, passions, values, goals, and how others perceive you, you can then use this information to separate yourself from your competitors and really stand out.

    Personal Branding is very powerful because it sends a clear, consistent, and authentic message about who you are and what you have to offer. A strong, authentic Personal Brand helps you become known for what you’re good at, sets you apart from everyone else, and can position you as a niche expert.

    So you are probably wondering, how do you discover your Personal Brand?

    The first step in the process is (1) to do your own introspective analysis or homework (understanding your goals, values, passions, strengths, etc.) and then (2) to understand how others perceive you. Once you have analyzed all of this information and have distilled down your unique brand attributes and leadership competencies, then you can determine how to communicate your competitive differentiation to the people who need to know about you (your target audience).

    In the communication phase, you establish a media plan that is based upon communication vehicles you enjoy using and those that reach your target audience. This phase could also include incorporating your Personal Brand into your resume, a branded biography, LinkedIn profile, Twitter, etc.

    So why should I care about Personal Branding? There are numerous benefits to a strong Personal Brand, some of which are listed below:

    • Personal Branding enhances your self-awareness.
    • Personal Branding helps you clarify and reach your career or business goals.
    • Personal Branding helps you create visibility and presence, in front of those people who will be making decisions about you.
    • Personal Branding is about differentiation.
    • Personal Branding offers more control and power over your career.
    • Personal Branding creates wealth as strong brands are typically paid more.
    • Personal Branding offers resilience in difficult economic times.
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