Stage 2: Shifting Your Gears to Become Your Brand – Part II

Now that you’ve finished gears 1-5, you are half-way through becoming your brand. Just five more gears to go.

Gear #6: Personal Brand Statement

Now that you found your unique promise of value you need to articulate it. In Gear #6 you combine everything from believing your brand in Stage 1 with the first five gears in Stage 2 to create a one sentence Personal Brand Statement (PBS). This easily remembered sentence needs to define your authenticity and represent the impact you want to have on the world. No one else can have the same statement. Like a fingerprint, it is unique to you. It is your compass to guide you when your are lost, your tool to communicate your unique value, and the magnet that will attract others. Spend extra time in Gear #6. Pedal slowly and carefully. Pull off the road and take a break if needed. Make sure your PBS makes you feel proud and when you are ready get back on your bicycle and pedal on.

Gear #7: Brand Story

With your PBS now in hand your can shift into Gear #7. Here you go beyond the one sentence PBS to tell your ‘brand story’ in a branded bio. To make your story engaging you need to make an emotional connection. Your branded bio is a key marketing tool that tells the story about you. You will use it on your website, blog, social media, and Google profiles. You will use it at speaking engagements and conferences. You will need it for an article or book you want to publish. It will be your script for a Video bio. Your brand story will be everywhere so you want to make sure it is well written, clear, engaging, and true to you. If needed, work with a copywriter who can take your spoken story and craft it into the written version of you. Remember, the “About” page is often the first place people visit on your website, or the only information they see in a conference program. Your branded bio is likely the one and only thing that your target audience will use to decide if they like you, trust you, and want to do business with you.

Gear #8: Resume and Cover Letter

While the branded bio you created in Gear #7 is an important career marketing tool, you cannot ignore the traditional tools of a good resume and cover letter. In Gear #8 you examine and revise your current resume and cover letter to be focused on your personal brand. Using your branded bio as a reference, ask yourself if what you have now is compelling, speaks to your unique promise of value, and demonstrates your brand attributes. Does your resume include the key words that will get it noticed? Does your cover letter make an emotional connection to the reader by conveying your brand? Even though these are traditional tools, Gear #8 shifts your approach towards a new way of presenting you and your brand.

Gear #9: Brand Communication Plan

By shifting through Gears 6, 7, and 8, you developed the tools you need to stand out and get noticed. In order to be clear, consistent and constant in your personal brand message you shift into Gear #9 and build your brand communication plan. Visualize your plan as the wheels on your bicycle. Without wheels you cannot move! Your brand communication plan allows you to move forward and continue your ride to success. The center of a wheel, the hub, keeps the spokes together. Likewise the center of your plan, the ‘content theme,’ is the core message you want to communicate to your niche. Your communication vehicles, or spokes, radiate out of your content theme and provide the support to keep your plan together. These may include presenting at conferences, joining professional organizations, using social media, creating a blog, writing an article or book for publication, etc. Select a mix of vehicles that you will enjoy doing and will actually reach your target audience. If you dread public speaking then you may want to avoid this. Remember, a broken spoke makes a wheel wobble and lose it’s strength. Select vehicles that you are strong at, or at least ones you are happy to make stronger. Schedule these ‘spokes’ into your calendar and commit to executing and repeating them. By keeping your wheel straight you remain visible and by fixing a broken spoke you remain credible.

Gear #10: On-line Brand Identity

You have shifted into the final gear and are almost at your destination to become your brand! Gear #10 looks at your visibility and credibility online. People are Googling you all the time. Are you present online? If you are not, you need to implement tools to develop your online identity. If you are, are the results on-brand or off-brand? Remember, you ARE your Google results to people who do not know you. Assess your online identity with Reach’s onlineID tool. Determine if your are digitally ‘dissed’, disastrous’, ‘dabbling’, or ‘distinct’. Create a plan to develop or reshape your online brand by starting a blog or website, joining LinkedIn and posting your profile and job history, creating a Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ account, posting and Google profiles, and joining online forums. While your online brand identity is important, you must first have a clear personal brand to share. If you are still unsure of your message, then downshift into a lower gear and try again.

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About the author

Peter Sterlacci Peter Sterlacci is known as “Japan’s personal branding pioneer.” In a country where fitting-in is the norm, Peter’s mission is to pioneer a ‘cultural shift’ by helping Japanese to stand out in a global environment. An avid cyclist, he combines cycling imagery with personal branding strategy to empower his clients to shift gears and sprint to career success. Follow Peter on Google+