A colleague recently asked me for advice on how to manage her personal brand: What social media to use? What topics to blog about? Whether or not to use a photo on a resume or to give it a distinctive look with a particular color or font?
Before taking any of these actions, I suggested first taking the time to think strategically about her personal brand, using the same principles used for creating and building a product or service brand.
I’ve found that defining the 3 Ps for yourself—a brand promise, purpose and personality—can make choosing personal brand building tactics easier and more effective for reaching your goals.
Like with any brand, a professional in the workforce needs to provide value and relevance to an employer—and, ideally, something distinctive from other candidates vying for the same position and paycheck. This promise has to be backed up with credible reasons to believe, proof points, to support the claim. An applicant for a global brand role, for instance, would want to show tangible experience, results and recognition in successfully managing brands for growth.
Identifying and communicating why you do what you do is also important. This higher-level purpose and motivation speaks to a person’s character and drive, traits that can’t be taught but that can impact performance. My daughter’s dermatologist, for example, once shared that he suffered from severe acne as a teen and wanted to help others avoid the pain he endured as an adolescent. This palpable purpose helped him complete long years of study as well as foster a big patient following and professional success (he has two offices and it takes months to get an appointment with him).
And just as brand personality can influence purchase choice with a product or service, it can do the same with an individual as well. Selecting personality traits to focus on, however, is best done by getting objective input, not by picking traits yourself. Try asking friends and family to cite three adjectives that best describe your strengths or check past performance reviews. One past boss, for example, described me as a “spark plug” for my ability to get things done and help others do the same. Identifying this, for example, led me to write this monthly series.
Defining your 3Ps—promise, purpose, personality—as with a product or service brand, can help guide the decisions you make and the communications you create to build and strengthen your personal brand.