There are three steps to creating a brand that resonates with your audience:
- What’s My Story – what you want others to know about you.
- Packaging My Story – your consistent message that conveys your brand
- Telling My Story – courteous, clear, and concise communication.
Last month, I posted “What’s Your Brand,” about the steps to take to clarify, polish, or build your brand. In this step, self-reflection is critical. With life being so busy, we can lose track of who we are and what we bring to the table.
Today. I am writing about the next two steps—packaging and telling your story.
Packaging My Story
The first thing to remember is to think like an entrepreneur and create a portfolio of your offerings and identify who you want to know about what you offer. Since not everyone will be interested, identify your specific audience, and craft your message for them.
When you developed your story, you should have discovered your strengths. Show how you use them to solve problems and strategize how to work around any weaknesses you have identified.
Document, document, document! It is easy to forget accomplishments, compliments from clients, etc. A record of your value will provide the information you need when you ask for a raise or a promotion.
Create a simple marketing plan on how you will let others know your capabilities, such as a resume, status report, blog, social media, etc.
Without communicating your brand effectively, you can miss opportunities.
Here is an example:
A Director position became available that my client was working towards for several years. She had worked diligently with excellent results handling multiple departments, large teams, and challenging customers, and felt she had filled all the qualifications for that role. She thought she had it in the bag because her neighbor, who she knew personally for a long time, had recently become her leader. She felt he knew her well enough to know what she could do. However, he promoted someone else. She was stunned and extremely disappointed.
At her next meeting with him, she asked him why she did not get the job? She told him about her experience and results. Because she had never shared this information with him or anyone, her name did not come up for consideration for the position. When I asked my client why she had not kept people updated on her work and successes, she replied they should know what she is doing. I said bluntly, only if they are psychic. Her hard work provided results, but her efforts were mostly invisible.
Other clients told me their leaders should know what they are doing. They won’t know unless you tell them!
The last step is Telling Your Story!
You now have a clear brand and packaged it into a consistent story. In other words, to tell your story, Thoughts, Words, and Actions must be in alignment.
To tell your story effectively, you need to believe in your brand! Fake it until you make it can work in some instances, but believing in yourself is crucial, not only in your work life but in your personal life as well. Become that story!
Practice shameless promotion—this is NOT bragging! People are too busy to notice everything you do. Let them know the facts about what you are doing, either through action or communication.
Be brief and precise when communicating your value. Ask yourself, what would I want to have my “audience” take away? Remind yourself that professionalism and courtesy are the foundation of credibility.
Things to Remember on Personal Branding
- Branding “I, Inc.” is your story, so tell it well.
- Not everyone needs to get your message; focus on the right audience.
- Your brand must be clear and consistent; otherwise, it can confuse your audience.
- Lose your cool; lose your cred, especially during conflicts. Civility raises your reputation.