May 22 2011
Fundamentals of Branding
You must build a brand that is memorable, relevant (appeals to your target audience), carries and builds upon great worth/achievements, and is unique. Smooch S. Reynolds offers four areas to consider in her comprehensive book, Be Hunted: 12 Secrets to Getting on the Headhunter’s Radar Screen; know yourself, know the competition, know your audience and know how to communicate your brand.
It has been written many times before, but to reiterate, you must assess your entire career history, to discover who you are, where you have come from, and where would you like to go. Reynolds takes this notion and applies to examples of good branding – do not be too generalist. Using an example of candidates who claim to be happy in every industry, after deep conversations regarding work history, many candidates realise there are a number of preferable industries, and a number that are completely undesirable. Focus on the preferable industries and build your brand to specifically match the needs of this target audience - “don’t try to be all things to all people, companies, and situations,” outlines Reynolds. Instead, find that match between your career, working life and personal satisfaction, and incorporate these factors into a strong, well-defined brand.
Know the Competition
Study other professionals personal branding and their career paths. Look to the executives who are where you want to be and see how they got there – document their qualifications, skills and experience, and analyse how they sell their brand. LinkedIn is an excellent tool for research and use the advanced people search with keywords to pinpoint target executives. Objectively look at your brand in comparison to your findings, then match and evolve to market needs.
Know Your Audience
Identity the various groups in your target audiences - co-workers, executive recruiters, network contacts, industry professionals - and tailor your message to each one. Target by industry, function and region, and ensure you leave a lasting, branded impression, `If you don’t brand yourself, they will do it for you (and perhaps inaccurately)`, states Reynolds.
Communicate Your Brand
The usual rules apply when ensuring you are on the radar screen of executive recruiters and industry professionals – being published in trade magazines, speaking engagements, professional/trade groups, strong online presence, executive resume etc… However, two areas which may have been neglected that are highlighted by Reynolds are ensuring your achievements are known to co-workers in your office through widespread reporting (not boasting), and developing an extended professional network through non-profit work. I personally used the latter as a bridge into marketing, and helping others while furthering your career can apply to all industries.
BlueSteps members get exclusive access to a range of personal branding articles and webinars in the BlueSteps Career Channel. Non-members can benefit from an additional 5 tips to building your personal brand.
This article was written by Christian Pielow from the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).
BlueSteps is the exclusive service of the AESC that puts senior executives on the radar screen of over 6,000 executive search professionals in over 70 countries. Be visible, and be considered for up to 50,000 opportunities handled by AESC search firms every year. Find out more at www.BlueSteps.com.