Brand management has come of age. No longer is it solely a marketing discipline, confined to managing the promotion of products. Today, brand management is also a masterstroke of self-promotion. People don’t just want to leave their reputation to chance – they want to proactively differentiate themselves from their competition.
It’s no wonder then that brand management is stepping up to deliver significant benefits and opportunities to job seekers. The career savvy are now thinking of themselves as products and devising personal brands that get them noticed.
“Personal branding is popular right now,” says director of Shine Communications Sue Currie. “Job seekers want the competitive edge that comes from establishing yourself as an expert in your chosen field.”
Job seekers also want to inspire loyalty and respect in their core audiences, making personal branding even more appealing.
“No matter what level of career success people attain, they still need to communicate what they stand for and the benefits they offer in order to stay ahead of competitors,” says Currie. “Personal branding is the perfect solution.”
But before you position yourself as a niche market guru, it’s important to do your research first. Because personal branding relies on strength and consistency, it’s vital to be clear about who you are.
“You need to do a personal audit to determine your personal brand before you can create it,” says Currie. “Consider your personality, appearance, competencies, and differentiation, and what will best communicate your unique message. Some people find this particularly challenging.”
A solution, Currie suggests, is to think about what sets you apart from your peers, colleagues and competitors. This will not only give you a clearer understanding of who you are but, with a bit of vocational soul-searching, give you a confidence boost as well.
When it comes to maintaining your personal brand, trends to watch out for include personality profiling, colour analysis, and image consultancy. These clever tools give you a clearer understanding of who you are, but can also be used to determine how you’re perceived by others, and what your needs are.
“These tools are particularly good for people in career transition or forging an entrepreneurial path, because they provide that much needed extra insight,” Currie says.
Finally, in terms of evolving your personal brand, all strong brands need to remain relevant to their target audience. Strive to stand out from the crowd by regularly assessing your strategy.
“Your personal brand should be an accurate reflection of who you are, so integrate it with your unique style and personality,” suggests Currie. “This not only increases your perceived value in the marketplace, but helps you live your personal brand and deliver on its promise.”
Published on My Career 09/07