The Goal of Personal Branding: Becoming a Benchmark in Your Line of Work
Join us at Entrepreneur magazine's Growth Conference, Dec. 15 in Long Beach, Calif. for a day of fresh ideas, business mentoring and networking. Register here for exclusive pricing, available only for a limited time.
The following is the 10th and final article in the series, "Living Your Personal Brand," in which marketing master Jim Joseph discusses practical ways to build your brand daily and use it to advance your personal and professional lives.
Many people mistakenly think that personal branding is all about becoming famous, and they point to Kim Kardashian as a model they don’t necessarily want to emulate.
Now while Kim is indeed a brand, and an incredibly famous and successful one at that, her goals are not the same as most of us.
Your personal objectives should be customized to what you want to get out of life. It’s not about being famous. It’s about being successful at whatever you choose to do.
There is one goal, however, that is at the crux of personal branding that I believe all of us should strive toward: becoming a benchmark.
You should not only strive to be the best you can be in your chosen line of work, you should strive to set the standard in it.
For example, if you chose to be a florist, then be the best darn florist in town and online. Set the standards for how floral arranging is done.
Share images on your website of your best designs, including how-to videos so that others can learn. Be the arbiter of floral design at special events in your community and give talks about how flowers can set the mood in a room. Offer customer service that far surpasses anything a client could expect. Be the benchmark in floristry for your customers, so that they would never even consider another option.
Being a benchmark goes way beyond just doing well -- it’s making sure you “own” your craft. It means that you are so good at what you do that people directly link you to that line of work, just like when we think of fine acting, images of Meryl Streep pop into our head. Just like when I think of a crafted caffeinated beverage on the way to work, I think of Starbucks. Those are benchmark brands.
When your customers think about the work they need, they should think of you first. You should be the standard by which others are measured.
Surely, this is aspirational, and that is exactly the point. Whether you even get to a benchmark status is not the issue -- it is striving towards that goal that counts. It’s your journey towards it that matters, so that you improve yourself at each milestone.
Every step of the way along your journey, use your personal brand to guide your decisions. Every interaction builds towards creating your brand, so make every relationship and activity work.
Create your very own brand story, by weaving the steps in your journey into a personal story of success, setting the standard for how your work will improve others’ lives that you touch. Show how you being the benchmark will add value to those around you.
When you set the standard for good work in your industry, you will become a benchmark personal brand.