I had lunch with the CFO of a major corporation in the Greater NY area last week and asked him the following question: If you were a Lexus would you be roomy and luxurious, with a modern GPS system built in to the dash, or would you simply be a Toyota in disguise?
We pondered how it came to be that in the late 80s, Toyota launched an entire new product line that is widely known today as one of the most admired luxury vehicles in history! The answer lies in the branding, of course.
Anything can be turned into a brand purchase. For example, people buy a brand of cigarettes or a brand of hair care products; but they can also buy milk and bread – and even these things can be turned into brand purchases – think Lactaid and Wonder.
Marketing an executive level professional is a little different than a luxury automobile or a high-end hairspray, but not by much. Developing a personal brand requires an individual to first determine which personal and professional attributes are his valuable differentiators.
What is it about you that causes you stand out in comparison to your peers? Just as Lexus focused on luxury as their claim to fame, you too must identify what makes you special.
Here is a brief list of questions to ask yourself while brainstorming for those qualities and traits that can be leveraged as you establish your brand:
- What are some of the general strengths and personality traits that have gotten you to this current level in your career?
- Are you good at multi-tasking? Do you have an extraordinary ability to persuade others? Are you known for your outstanding leadership style with subordinates?
- Are you strong at product management, project management, litigation, financial budgeting and forecasting? In what key areas do you have your professional expertise?
- How do you handle crisis? Are you the coolest cucumber in town? Maybe you are good at high level planning.
- How are your follow through skills? Are you great at assembling productive teams and ensuring timely completion? Do you have a special knack for seeing the big picture?
You get the idea. By identifying those things that make you stronger than the competition, you can then go on to promote your brand effectively. Before you actually launch a full blown professional branding campaign make sure you are extremely clear on what attributes and drivers you possess.
Steer the direction of your career to the next level through your brand development and management efforts. Before you know it you will be recognized as a “Lexus” within the professional arena in which you operate.
If you would like to discuss your personal branding strategy or have a free resume critique, please contact Debra Wheatman, CPRW, CPCC at firstname.lastname@example.org