Suggested Promise of Value – Employed & Struggling

Everything you do and say sends messages to your manager, senior managers, clients, peers, and subordinates. Your words, actions, presentations, reports, work deliverables, and professional accomplishments shape the perceptions others have about you and the value you provide.

You were hired, or promoted, to perform a very specific job function. You were hired over the other candidates because your clients or manager believed that you would successfully deliver something of value. Your message should be that you consistently deliver that promised value.

You should be continuously role modeling those strengths, talents and personal characteristics your company values. You should strive for others to view you as a person with particular expertise who provides high quality and results. In this way, you stand out from your peers and gain credibility that fuels your personal brand. You are also helping to create an emotional connection with your employer so the thought of losing you to a competitor makes him cringe.

What is Your Promise of Value?

So, what is your promise of value? And is it the “right” promise of value? The answer really depends on your current career situation. Over the next couple of weeks I will explore suggestions for your Promise of Value in three different career scenarios.

1 – Employed and struggling in your current position.
2 – Employed, performing successfully in your current position and ready to move up the value chain.
3 – Ready to transition into a new role, company or industry.

As always, I would love to hear your comments or personal experiences related to my posts.

Creating Your Personal Brand Message

The secret to having a powerful brand is creating a crystal clear message that connects with your audience. Disney’s brand message is “The happiest place on Earth!” Subway is “Eat fresh!” Ford is “Ford trucks are built tough!” Every successful company has a promise of value that they provide to customers. And that promise of value is consistently delivered and reinforced through their products and all types of messages including radio, TV, advertising, in-store displays and media relations.

 

Personal branding is about delivering a “promise of value” to your manager, clients and peers. Whether it’s developing a mind-blowing marketing campaign, leading a team of high performers, or turning an unprofitable product group into a strong cash cow, your personal brand is fueled by the value that you consistently deliver.

Do Not Judge Yourself Against All The Other Industry Experts

When it comes to finding your signature talents, do not judge yourself against all the other industry experts. That bar is too high and not the intention of this concept.

 

Let me share a story. When I was working for a regional retail chain in Phoenix, my job included writing and producing the company’s radio and TV commercials. After two years, the senior managers asked if I could write and produce a corporate video to train our field team on a new product line. I said, “Absolutely!” and immediately went back into my office and started hyperventilating. I had no idea how to write and produce a corporate video. Luckily, I had producer friends who walked me through the steps. Within one year, our company’s suppliers started hiring me to write and produce their corporate videos.

 

I continued producing corporate videos for two more years and was offered a job at a global high-tech company as a worldwide communications manager. Even though I had no experience in high tech, in fact, at that time I barely knew how to program my cell phone, I decided to make the transition from retail to high tech. I went from being a confident, successful marketing professional in the retail industry, to being a tiny, little fish in a humongous ocean of about 90,000 engineering, high-tech fanatics. It was intimidating, to say the least.

 

I wanted to build my credibility, visibility, and personal brand with my network of peers and senior managers. But how could I do it? I decided to anchor on one of my signature talents – being a corporate video expert.

 

My producer and director friends would laugh me under the table to hear I was positioning myself as a “video expert”. Of course, it’s only in my mind that I used this term. I never said it out loud, especially since the company had its own corporate video department full of highly qualified producers and directors. But, I knew my videos were pretty good and I could share this knowledge and teach other department managers to create their own internal videos – which is exactly what I did. By bringing attention to one of my signature talents, I became the “go to” person for producing internal videos. I quickly provided value to an extended network of department managers, thus raising my credibility and personal brand within the company.

Leveraging your Signature Talents

Identifying your signature talents is crucial for two reasons. First, these talents help define who you are professionally, boost your credibility, confidence, and uniqueness. They are the value you provide to your company or client. Second, if you identify your signature talents you can leverage them when you want to transition into a new role, company or industry.

 

Signature talents are more than specialized skills. They are advanced skills that, when combined with your experiences, knowledge and talents, are as unique and distinctive as your own signature.

 

For example, after spending a few years out in the field, many sales people develop their own unique style of selling. It’s a style that is difficult to teach to others. They may use common selling strategies and tactics, but combined with their personality, experiences, and knowledge they have created their own unique signature talent of selling.

 

Another example is that when I graduated college, I love writing and knew I either wanted to be a television news writer or write radio and TV commercials. After several years in radio, television, and advertising, I honed my writing skills and developed my own writing style. Writing is one of my signature talents. My employers can always hire someone else, but that person wouldn’t have my same signature style.

 

So, what are your signature talents? In which skills or areas of expertise do you stand out from your colleagues or peers?

What does your personal style say about your personal brand?

Your Personal Brand includes your personal style and the way you present yourself to others. It includes the way you speak, your dialect and your language. It’s the way you dress, your jewelry, hairstyle and shoes.

 

I learned a lesson about personal branding early in my career when I had just graduated college and interviewed for a copywriter position at a large Phoenix advertising agency. From 100 applicants I made it down to the final two. The other finalist had four years of ad agency experience as a copywriter. My only experience was a six-month college internship at Ping Golf Clubs. But, I had a portfolio of creative ideas, a confident attitude and new black suit that screamed, “I’m a professional with style!”

 

Although I wasn’t surprised they chose to hire the other candidate, I was surprised to learn the reason. The partner who interviewed me said it was a close call between the other candidate and me, but he shared with me how unimpressed he was by my rather “cheap” portfolio case. Even though it was filled with fresh and creative ideas, my new, plastic, $14.99 portfolio case broadcasted to the world that I placed little value on my work.

 

That was a big lesson I learned and one that I’ve never forgotten. The way you present yourself and act around others shapes your personal brand and the way others perceive you.
I invite you to share your own experiences where someone’s personal brand influenced your (good or bad).

Benefits of a Powerful Personal Brand

Building a powerful personal brand takes time, discipline and commitment. But the benefits are enormous and they include:

  • Being in high demand with your clients, senior managers and potential employers.
  • More opportunities and more control over your career.
  • Achieving a career rich in purpose, meaning and immense personal satisfaction.

Personal brands are as unique as individuals themselves. The key to having a career that provides you with meaning and purpose starts with understanding your own unique personal brand and what it is communicating to others.

Share examples of how you have built your personal brand by leaving a comment below.

Everyone Has a Personal Brand

Everyone has a personal brand. Everyone. And the power, or strength of one’s personal brand is determined by their consumers, fans, clients or employer. LeBron James doesn’t determine the strength of his own brand – his fans and customers do. Oprah doesn’t determine the strength of her personal brand – her viewers, listeners and magazine subscribers do.

Now, think about yourself and your own career. Do you know what value you provide to your clients or company? Do you know how to deliver that value in such a way that it creates an emotional connection with your employer or clients and they feel loyal to you? Do you now the strength of your personal brand? By doing some introspection and self discovery you will be able to answer these questions as well as create a career that give you meaning and personal satisfaction.

The Value of a Brand

The art of branding is so critical to success that companies spend millions, even billions of dollars on it. The reason for doing this is simple: branding drives sales. Having a powerful and unique image can translate into billions of sales dollars. So much money is spent on developing a strong and sustainable brand, there is a formula for determining the value of a brand. Every year, Business Week publishes its Top 100 Global Brands showing estimated values in terms of dollars. The list below shows the top 10 brands for 2009.

2009 Rank Company Brand Value in $ (Millions)
1 Coca-Cola 68,734
2 IBM 60,211
3 Microsoft 56,647
4 GE 47,777
5 Nokia 34,864
6 McDonald’s 32,275
7 Google 31,980
8 Toyota 31,330
9 Intel 30,636
10 Disney 28,447

Now, let me ask you, if you can form an emotional connection to a car or a soft drink, then do you think you can form an emotional connection to a person? Of course you can!

Polish Your Personal Brand on Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace!

Worried about your image on social networking sites? Check out my recent TV interview on NBC Channel 12 Phoenix to get quick and easy steps to polish up your personal brand on social networking sites!