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What is BRANDING and how can it help me?

“Branding” is high dollar business. Nike spent billions building their brand: the “Just do it” slogan combined with their trademark swish. Branding is the reason the consumer chooses Coke over Pepsi or McDonald’s over Burger King.
“But I’m not a product!” you say? Think again. Even if we don’t phrase it exactly like that, you are a “product” to your employer or potential employer. She has a need and she pays you to meet it. More importantly, she pays based on her perception of you and your brand. So, in order to maximize your advancement and compensation potential, you need to create a clear and positive brand that meets a need in the market. Though people don’t hire advertising agencies to design their brand, they can use the services of a coach or other career consult to design, build and maintain their brand.

“There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it,” Dale Carnegie.

What do you want to be known for? And who will pay for that?
An example of a verbal brand is to follow your name with “ I am a top producing sales representative in the pharmaceutical industry. My strengths are (or I am known for) my ability to build personal relationships, my vast knowledge base, and my revenue enhancement skills.” This can be broken down to: I am an (adjective) (title) in the (name of industry) industry. My strengths are (insert 3 of your best strengths or skills or achievements).

After creating your 30 second “verbal business card,” you will want to expand your brand to a full and mini-bio and highlight it on your resume. Note: resumes aren’t just for job searches- you want to keep yours updated and offer it whenever you meet anyone knew in your company or your industry with whom you will be working. This will help you stand out from your colleagues and further build your brand.

Integrated with your verbal brand is your appearance- the “how you look” part. You must dress appropriately for your position or you won’t be taken seriously. Take your clues on dressing from the successful people in your industry, your mentors, and your boss. Consider adding a “signature” item to your attire. For men, that may mean a collegiate tie collection or a designer eyeglass collection. For women, it may mean a scarf or pin collection or the inclusion of a “power red” item. When in doubt, the old adage “better overdressed than underdressed” is true.

Finally, there are your actions to consider. Is it consistent with the brand you want to build to be the guy who is always late for meetings? Or would be it more in keeping with your brand to be in the meeting room ten minutes early and with copies of a recent and relevant industry related article to offer the other attendees?
All of these elements combine to project what you are known for- your brand.

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About the Author

Regina Hudson de Corona
Birmingham, AL 35242

If you would like to re-print this article, please contact the author.
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