From the mega-corporation down to you. Every entity has a brand.
It isn’t a question of, “Do I have a brand?”
It is one of, “What does my brand say about me?”
And, “Is my brand working for me the way I want it to?”
In this video my friend, Julie Broad, walks you through five core elements of a brand. And this works for brands of any size. Even if you don’t own a business and are an employee somewhere. You still have a brand. She’ll show you how to recognize those elements of your brand and help you understand them so you can change any that aren’t working for you and reinforce those that are.
I’ll walk you Julie’s exercise with my brand and hopefully that will help you apply it to your own situation.
So lets start with the 5 elements.
M = Message
A = Appearance
G = Google
I = I’m an expert in
C = Character
As Julie says, message is focused on your core stories. You want to have some stories that reflect who you are as a person or business, what that tells people about you, and how it translates into your unique positioning (what you can do for them that is different than anyone else).
This is especially important in your job. There are certain things you are uniquely good at. When you’re applying for a new job or pushing for a promotion, positioning yourself as the answer to their job need is critical. What are some stories that fit that?
For me I focus on a few things.
- Telecom Industry Experience: My 20+ years in telecom.
- Career Guidance and Resume Writing Skills: Having personally experienced the situations those who come to me may be in (contractor & employee, leaving on my own accord & let go when projects end, working close to home, commuting long distances, and moving cross country for hoped for jobs).
- Experience Running and Growing Businesses: As a Director of Operations, helped grow a company from 5 people to 100+; executed turnarounds of several business lines as a Program Manager. Run a career guidance and business growth consulting business and blog.
- Detailed High-Level Business Knowledge: (Economics degree, statistics minor, deep computer skills, joint venture training, Vistage member 5 years (high level business mastermind group for C-level management), marketing, Director of Operations and Program Management roles leading organizations, etc.)
- Planning and Analytical Skills: This comes through in my blog posts and is something I apply on a daily basis.
What impression are you making with your appearance? And who is your audience?
Typically you’ll want to dress equal to or one step above your audience. For example, if you’re working in an office with a “business casual” attire, you’d want to dress in “business casual” yourself or maybe dress slacks and a sport coat for a man (women would apply the same idea…but I’m not a women’s fashion guru so I’ll defer to the women on that).
For me I’m typically dressed business casual. It fits my roll-up-my-sleeves and dig-into-the-details approach to things. From time to time for an important high-level meeting I might dress up with a sport coat and dress slacks. And if in a formal environment (like East Coast or South) where suits are the norm, I’d dress accordingly.
Search your name in Google and see what comes up. Is it what you expected? Is it what you want people to see?
In mine below you see my blog here “www.mikemcritchie.com”, my name, and “Career and Small Business Strategist”. These are what I want to be known for and where I’m building my brand.
Also listed is LinkedIn. That is where my professional presence is and also many of my articles and blog posts show up there. Having that #3 on google (behind my “About” page on my blog – which is #2) works for me.
Then comes the images. Some are pictures of me. Some are pictures from blog posts I’ve done. And some are other famous “Mike McRitchie’s”.
You have to be aware that other people with your same name, or business name, may pop up on Google ahead of you and steal your thunder. For instance the other day I got an email from someone wanting to promote my book, “Best Friends”. However it wasn’t my book (yes, I’m working on one…but that is for later). This was a different “Mike McRitchie”. So you have to know what is showing up when people search Googling for you. That is why it is good to Google yourself from time to time (Google isn’t a dirty word…get your mind out of the gutter for a moment).
I’m an expert in
Too often people think they aren’t an expert in anything. They typically overlook their expertise because it is something they “just do”. They aren’t really aware of it. And often they’re around other people with similar expertise – so they discount it.
Expertise is something you grow over your lifetime. It could be skills you acquire, relationships you build, knowledge you gain, and experiences you have that are unique to you.
Put all that together and you have your unique expertise. Then it is a matter of getting clear on what that is, what it means in terms of how can you implement that expertise and help others with it.
For me I’m an expert in career and small business strategy. My focus is using my analytical skills and business insights to help people grow their careers or small business.
How did I come to that expertise?
I’ve always been analytical (initially pursued a computer science degree in college and was always good at math and analyzing things). I lived in the library and devoured whole rows of books in the “How To”, “Business” and “Self-Improvement” sections.
I recently came to realize that one course I took in college – Comparative Literature – that I did really well in was something that helps me write this blog. Comparing often seemingly unrelated items, finding the link, and then explaining that, is something I enjoy and do well.
This same process goes into how I help people with their career (often through resume rewrites) and small business (helping them prioritize the most impactful ways to improve their business without adding a boat-load more to their to-do list).
What are you an expert in? Take some time to figure it out.
What is your unique personality? How do you stand out from the crowd of people who have similar expertise?
For me I’ve had a few personality attributes that have helped me throughout my career. They also help me connect with people I do business with.
- Unflappable – with a few exceptions (I do get really annoyed at people who don’t pull their own weight), I am someone who is calm in the storm of craziness. This is partly a personality trait I’ve always had (played center fullback in soccer where I directed the back line against attacks from the opposing team). It was also honed by being in challenging situations on a regular basis and finding solutions. This built my confidence in being able to handle things. And it also helped provide a calming buffer to my team to allow them to get the job done without being overly stressed about what was going on around them. A downside of this is it can come off a uncaring or not engaged enough (some people think you have to have your hair on fire and be screaming at people to show you’re pushing hard enough).
- Analytical – I tend to like to review and prepare on my own, then bounce ideas of others and revise my approach from there. I’m a mixture of introvert and extrovert in that way. But I always have a thoughtful way of approaching things.
- Reliable – I do what I say I’ll do. I’m not perfect in this arena but I always hold myself accountable for my commitments and attempt to instill the same in my teams. Not delivering on a commitment I take personally. So I don’t like to let others down that way. This is a strength in a world where keeping your commitments is not something always found. I’ve noticed this as I’ve worked with people revising their resumes. Many have been burned by so called experts who didn’t get back to them in a timely fashion or didn’t do what they committed to doing. That allows me to set myself apart from the competition.
- Well Rounded – This is something my dad made a big impression on me with. He exposed me and my brother and sister to lots of sports, events, and other experiences. He didn’t want us to be so single-minded that we couldn’t relate to people and on a variety of subjects. He also wanted to have us experience things so we could make informed decisions on what we would pursue in life. This has helped me to be interested in things and to bring breadth and depth of information to any conversation or situation. This has served me well in my communications.
What are your personal attributes? Are they helping or hindering you? What could you do to identify and grow and communicate those that support you?
As you can see, Julie’s video provided a great platform to evaluate my personal brand.
I hope you got some things out of this that you can apply to assessing yours.
If you’d like to learn more about your personal brand and how to make it work well for you, I’d recommend you check out Julie Broad’s new book, The New Brand You. And check out her website for additional bonuses you can get for buying this week and buying a couple additional books for your friends (everyone likes a cool read…and you can pick up some brownie points).
And if you need any help on your business or career, send me an email.