Take Charge of your Brand: Managing the brand elements of the BRAND YOU
By Guisselle Nuñez
How does a product brand relate to me? For those marketing enthusiasts out there (and I’m one of them!)…you may have favorite definitions of a brand, its elements, purpose, etc. But, my favorite definition is from Philip Kotler, the father of modern marketing (I also use his marketing management books in my marketing classes).
“A brand is a name, term, sign, symbol or design, combination of them, intended to identify the goods or services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of competitors.” So what does that product brand definition have to do with you? Well, if we agree that YOU are also a brand, then, you need to figure out how you distinguish yourself from your competition, that essentially may include competition for jobs, promotions, joining or invitations to project teams, special assignments, and much more! People are buying, and you are on the shelf among many other brands—who will the buyer choose?
What’s the purpose of a brand? If you are at a grocery store, and you are trying to pick between the name brand and generic brand detergent..which one will you choose and why? Think of YOUR brand as that product on the shelf. Why should the buyer choose you over someone else? How do you distinguish yourself from the competition surrounding you on that shelf? How have you communicated to the buyer, that what you offer is better than your competition’s offer?
A strong personal brand provides the buyer with a shortcut in their decision-making.
Our brand elements Continuing our marketing 101 lesson…the definition of a brand also says that it’s a name, term, sign, symbol that help identify and differentiate the product. Think of your favorite brands…how do they package themselves so that they appeal to you when they are on the shelf? But of course, we don’t just buy the product based on the pretty packaging, or the name, etc. (although that can get our attention right?), we also want to make sure that the product, whatever it is, works the way it says it will work for us. SO-- in personal branding, we also have brand elements. These brand elements form the way we package and promote ourselves to the world.
Our brand elements include, at the core, your brand promise—what you say you are, will do, and how do you ensure, every time the buyer takes you off the shelf, that what you offer (your brand promise) is true and consistent? But how do we advertise our brand promise so that buyers can try YOU out? You need to build your total, product package look, feel, and design with your brand elements which include your core values, strengths, personality and image. These brand elements build the pretty package that makes up the brand YOU.
YOUR brand elements include…
Core values—what do you believe in? What are your core values that drive who you are, what you do, don’t do, etc?
Strengths— do you know what you are good at..? Can you articulate, communicate and promote those strengths to the world? Can your buyers describe your strengths?
Personality—how do you make people feel around you? Do you smile, say hello, or are you a wallflower? What are your visual and physical cues to the world that say you are an interesting person, and that they should get to know you?
Image—people…let’s get real here…agree or disagree, but I believe we do judge a book by its cover…so how are your buyers judging you when they first meet you? Now, this is more than just about your attire, though I would argue that attire is a big part of building your image, this is also about the confidence and energy you exude, and impression you leave with your buyers.
Put all of the brand elements together and we build the package for our brand YOU. Guess what!? You are already packaging yourself to the world—but is the package what you want it to be and look like? Whether you answer yes or no, managing brand YOU still involves purposeful and strategic management on a daily basis. Remember—you are now a brand manager. The work to develop and maintain your personal brand is continuous.
You need be clear and strategic about how you package and promote the brand YOU.