Can People Be Branded?

If you’re like most people, you’re probably faithful to at least a couple of brands. Maybe it’s your favorite brand of rich and tasty ice cream or a particular shampoo that does more for your hair than any other. Certain brands command higher prices than others because they are perceived as superior.

If brands are so powerful that they can bring out such loyalty in us – the kind of loyalty that keeps us reaching into our hearts and our pocketbooks year after year – why shouldn’t people be branded? Why can’t we, as individuals, evoke that same kind of loyalty in our careers? In fact, think about it: If you were the “brand of choice” in your workplace, what that would it mean in terms of promotions, recognition, and higher pay?

Now, of course, I’m not suggesting that you’re a product like a tub of ice cream or a bottle of shampoo. But the truth is that we are all like shampoo because just as shampoo must offer a benefit to improve your hair, you must also offer something of value in business. Otherwise, you’re out of luck … or worse, out of a job. Taking charge of your personal brand at work is exactly how you become known for what you have to offer.

The good news is: Personal branding doesn’t have to involve advertising yourself in a sandwich sign. It’s not all about self-promotion! There are subtle ways you can become known for your greatest strengths and talents.

So, the question isn’t whether people can be branded. The real question is: How do you create a personal brand that makes “YOU™” – the trademarked you – the brand of choice in your workplace?

The Art of Branding Yourself

Becoming the brand of choice in your workplace means that your Audience is loyal to YOU™. Who is your “Audience?” They are the people who can most impact your work and career. It may be your boss, your clients, or your colleagues. These are the people whose Needs you must fill in order to set yourself apart as uniquely valuable. Just as a corporate brand must fill the needs of its consumers, you must figure out the Needs of your Audience and focus on meeting those to the best of your ability.

But how do you know that you’re meeting your Audience’s Needs and becoming their brand of choice? In my experience as a marketer, the only way to take a corporate brand to the top is to use a proven step-by-step framework that establishes a brand’s position in the marketplace. And this same proven framework works for personal branding, too. It begins with a Personal Brand Positioning Statement that consists of the same six elements that have been used to create every top selling corporate brand.

I have already mentioned the first two of the six elements, but what are the remaining four?

  • Audience – The people who most affect your career or your job.
  • Need – The problems of your Audience that you must help resolve.
  • Comparison – Others who could also fill your Audience’s Needs, and how you can set yourself apart from them.
  • Unique Strengths – The talents and strengths you bring to the job that make you memorable to your Audience.
  • Reasons Why – The credentials and experience that will convince your Audience that you can deliver your Unique Strengths.
  • Brand Character – The aspects of your personal brand that are unique to your personality.

These six elements fix together like a jigsaw puzzle to carefully define the personal brand you want for yourself and that can help you achieve greater success at work.

If you haven’t taken the time to carefully define what you want your specific personal brand to stand for, chances are the people you most want to influence on the job aren’t clear about what you stand for either. How clear are you on who ‘YOU™’ are?


Guest Expert:

Brenda Bence is an internationally-recognized branding expert, certified executive coach, professional speaker, and award-winning author of the How YOU™ Are Like Shampoo personal branding book series. With an MBA from Harvard Business School, Brenda’s 25-year career has included developing mega brands for Procter & Gamble and Bristol-Myers Squibb across four continents and 50 countries. As President of Brand Development Associates International, Ltd. Brenda now travels the world speaking, training, and coaching individuals and companies to greater success through corporate and personal brand development.

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