Branding, marketing strategy & storytelling

These six 5-minute exercises will make your personal brand shine

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1. Who should hear about you?

Whether you’re a freelancer who wants to attract new clients or you want to develop your skills inside a bigger organization, they need to know about you.

  • Prepare a list of five organizations that can help you develop your talents and passion.
  • Try to learn who (a person or a department) may be responsible for making a decision about hiring you or cooperating with you.
  • Start with… listening. Follow them on social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) — perhaps you’ll learn in detail about problems you can help solve.

2. What do you really want?

Don’t be “Jack of all trades, master of none”. The worst brands are like that — mediocre at everything, good at nothing. For everybody and for nobody. Like a cover letter that says “I want to work at any company, doing any job”.

  • Think of a problem you want to eliminate from the world. Sounds serious, I know, but you probably have thought about it. It’s your vision. I, for instance, would like to get rid of bad, mediocre brands.
  • Now think how you can solve this problem. Are you at the beginning of your road and can’t face it today? It’s OK, just think what you need to learn. This is your goal. I learned marketing, brand building and now I help my customers tell their stories.

3. Allow Others To Tell You About You

If you ever tried to write a cover letter you know that the first sentences that come to you are empty words. “Passionate team player” or “focused on a goal”, blah, blah, blah… You know who would do a better job? People who already cooperated with you.

  • Ask for an honest opinion — first from your family, then friends, then colleagues and people who worked with you.
  • See which features are obvious from the first time people meet you (colleagues and co-workers) and which come out when people get to know you better (family and friends).
  • Looking at the information you gathered, sketch up the cover letter.

4. Do your own SWOT analysis

SWOT analysis sounds like a serious managerial tool, but it comes in very handy when building a personal brand. After you’ve done it, you will have no problem creating a distinguishing message. Plus, if you did exercise 3, it will be easy as pie.

  • What are you good at? Can you motivate people? Or perhaps you are mindful of small details? List all the elements that come from within you and will be useful when realizing your vision from exercise 2.
  • What are your weaknesses? I, for instance, don’t get along well with papers and details. Being aware of your weak sides is the first step towards not letting them come in your way.
  • What opportunities do you see around you? Did you get accepted to a prestigious school? People with your particular skills are sought in the market?
  • Is there something that can change for worse? Do you live at your colleague’s and can be kicked out any moment? Or perhaps your skills can be replaced with some automated tool?

5. Analyze your competitors

You know how you are better than others. Now think: how common are your skills? Which area is the easiest to replace, and which makes you irreplaceable?

  • How many people with similar skills can apply to your potential employer and replace you right away? If you are a programmer, the market is in need of you. But what if you’re an English tutor?
  • Can your skills be interchanged with other skills? Or some automated tool? You can create advertising campaigns on Facebook. When will Facebook’s own tools become simple enough for the people to not need you anymore?

If your competition analysis is thorough and you can see things you can do that cannot be easily replaced… you’re in a good position for negotiations. Test these arguments with an employer. Perhaps he will come up with things you haven’t thought of.

6. Elevator Pitch & High-concept Pitch

A member of the Cabinet congratulated Wilson on introducing the vogue of short speeches and asked him about the time it took him to prepare his speeches. He said:

“It depends. If I am to speak ten minutes, I need a week for preparation; if fifteen minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days; if an hour, I am ready now.”

  • Take all the things you want to say about your personal brand (including those you’ve learned from others so far) and draft a neat, 3-minute speech. It should answer the crucial questions: “how can I help you” and “why you need to choose me”. It’s your elevator pitch. Don’t kid yourself: perfecting it will take at least a couple of days.
  • “I make my living by telling stories.” is my high-concept pitch — a single sentence that will draw the attention of the people so that they want to know more. Think: what could that sentence be in your case?

About the author

Paul Skah

The author of three best-selling books, a brand strategist who worked with companies such as SONY, Skanska, Orange or HBO. Public speaker, known for his signature combination of high energy, humor, and insight.

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By Paul Skah
Branding, marketing strategy & storytelling

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