The Brand Called 'You'
Learn how to define, enhance and market the brand of 'you'.
November 17, 2011
What’s the difference between generic and brand name? Like beauty, the distinction often lies in the eye of the beholder.
When you say “jeans,” you probably envision a functional, basic pair of pants made out of blue denim. Pretty bland, isn’t it? But say “Levi’s” and you probably get a montage of exciting, compelling images. You’re no longer thinking about the jeans themselves, but about all the qualities you associate with that particular brand.
The wonder of branding also applies when managing your career. The key is to stop thinking of yourself as a generic “financial professional” and to start promoting the brand called You.
Marketers often talk about a product or company’s “unique selling proposition,” the key feature that makes a particular item or business stand out. In managing your career — especially when looking for a new job or seeking to move up at your current firm — you need to think in similar terms. What makes you stand out from other candidates or employees? Why should your manager promote you or Company X hire you?
Defining Your ‘Brand’
Step one is to identify and define your professional image in very clear, vivid terms. It’s helpful to start by answering these questions:
Steps in Marketing ‘Brand You’
Even the greatest products would be doomed to obscurity if it weren’t for skillful, consistent marketing. Coke and Nike are leading brands, but the companies still market their products as if they were trying to get a foothold in the market.
Marketing yourself is a similar, never-ending process. Other people need to know about you and what you offer. Here are the key steps to include in your marketing plan:
Enhance your brand by pursuing activities that will increase your professional connections and skill-set, provide valuable experience and add to your distinctiveness. Doing pro bono work or taking on continuing education activities that will earn you an advanced degree or special certification are good strategies. By building and improving your brand, you’ll find it easier to “sell” current and potential employers on your unique skills, expertise and experience.
This article is provided courtesy of Robert Half International, parent company of Accountemps, Robert Half Finance & Accounting and Robert Half Management Resources. Robert Half is one of the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firms to place accounting and finance professionals on a temporary, full-time and project basis. Follow Robert Half on Twitter at twitter.com/roberthalf.