The following is the second in the series "Personal Branding For A Better Life," in which marketing expert Jim Joseph applies big brand marketing lessons to help you build a successful personal brand.
You may never have considered going into marketing before, but I hate to break it to you: you're there already. When it comes to your own life, you are marketing your personal brand every single day, whether you realize it or not.
Marketing boils down to how you serve yourself up to those around you and what you consistently offer to them. The work you do and the friendships you provide are an experience you enable others to consume. When marketing yourself, it’s about consciously building that experience so that you can effectively get what you want in return from your life.
That’s what marketing truly is all about: creating a consistent experience for your "customers," -- whether you are a big brand or just managing your life toward your own personal goals.
The key here is to take control. You are your own brand manager, and you have to set the course for your own brand experience. It’s your show -- love your brand.
When scoping out their business models and marketing plans, all the big brands do an analysis to identify what they are particularly good at and what they want to develop. Big brands pull together an inventory of skills that could possibly make them who they are, and they construct it into a brand definition.
You should do the same as your own personal brand manager. Without a proper definition of your personal brand, you can’t possibly market yourself. Part of that process is also identifying how your brand can be unique from others in the same space, and how to build an experience, unlike all others around you.
Let’s get the personal branding process started by defining who you want to be as a person. It's an important first step. We can't move ahead without knowing what we want out of life. Every brand does it, and so should you.
As you start to think about your personal brand, you should:
- Identify your personal skills and ownable attributes (the ones you have now or the ones you want to acquire over time).
- Make sure you can excel at each of those skills and attributes.
- Determine whether you can use them to differentiate yourself from others.
- Consider if these skills will bring you success and happiness over the course of your life (the most important part).
Start by outlining all the areas of your life where you want to achieve success and happiness. This would certainly include your career, but also your social life, relationships, children and places you would want to live. It’s never too early to start a bucket list, and it should be directly linked to your brand and ultimately, your plan.
Remember that your personal brand definition should be aspirational: an indication of what you want out of life, not necessarily where you are right now.
Of course this is just a start. We need to turn this into a positioning for your brand so that it serves as a guide for how you build your brand.
But it’s a good start on the way to loving your brand. Next week in this series we will talk about how to create a personal brand positioning statement to make this all much more specific to you.
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.
Jim Joseph is the North American president of New York-based communications agency Cohn & Wolfe, part of the media company WPP Group PLC. He is the author of three books, including the latest, The Personal Experience Effect (Happy About 2013). Joseph also teaches marketing at New York University and blogs at JimJosephExp.com.