Your Brand Statement and Why You Need One

What is a brand statement anyway?

Your personal brand statement is 3 to 5 sentences that clearly state what you do and what type work you are looking for. Each sentence should convey what makes you special for the job.

I’ve been a business man for many years and have interviewed many job candidates. Competition for jobs is more intense that it has ever been. Here are some ideas to help you develop your own personal brand statement.

1. What is it you really want to do? If you could design the perfect job for you, what would it be? Take some time and write down your ideas. List those things that are really important to you.

2. What is it about your background, education, or experience that makes you uniquely qualified to do your dream job? List these characteristics, as well as what have you done in the past that was very successful.

3. How can you use these things to help an employer?  Remember that your employer wants to know how you will be able to help the company meet its goals and objectives.

4, Narrow down the three lists to those points that express the essence of what type of job you are looking for and why you can do it.

5. Take the key points and write 3 to 5 sentences that tell your story in a quick and powerful way. Don’t use any more than 5 sentences, it will be too long if you do.

Here’s my personal brand statement.

I’m a financial adviser and author. I help people by teaching them how to make good financial decisions.

When you have your statement written down, refine it so that you can say it in a conversational way. It should sound natural.

Practice, practice, practice. Practice with friends and family. Practice in front of a mirror. Practice enough that you can say your brand statement easily and naturally.

Would you want to work for a company that could not express clearly what they did or how they did it? I don’t think so. If you can clearly say who you are and what you are about, I guarantee anyone that interviews you will be impressed.

Don’t hesitate to tell your friends and people you meet what your brand statement. It is very common for people to ask each other what type work they do when first meeting. You never know who you talk to that might hold the keys to that dream job.

How to Write an Extraordinary Personal Brand Statement

Your personal brand statement is as unique as you are and having a compelling and exciting statement will open business doors for you like nothing else will. Your statement should connect you with whoever reads it.

Before you can start to build your brand identity, your jumping off point must be your personal brand statement. Once you have a statement that draws people to you and your business, you can start to build your exposure and reputation online. All of the other elements of your reputation, such as your elevator pitch and biography, will begin with your personal brand statement.

What is a personal brand statement?

Your personal brand statement is a brief statement that definitively states what you excel at, which audience you serve, and what makes you stand out among your competition. It is a statement of your unique value promise. Your statement must be unique to you and only you. It should also be consistent with what you actually do. You should think of it as a doctrine that you keep returning to in order to continually working toward greater perfection.

One thing that a personal brand statement is not is a job description. Your job title is how other people describe you, including employers who have a desire for you to fit whichever positions they are attempting to fill.

Your personal brand statement is not is a mission statement, your purpose in life or your career objectives. It is a statement that has the sole purpose of marketing your business and your brand. It should be a statement that other people can remember easily and it should make people understand that you have a solution to their problems.

Why do you need a personal brand statement?

One question that you must be asked very often is what do you do? Do you get the impression that people truly understand what you do? If you think about how you respond to that question you may discover that your answer to the question is not buttoned up enough to eventually be in the position of doing business with some of those people.

Think about your business. The chances are very great that you are not the only person who does what you do. That is not important. What is important is what is your edge over your competition. If you don’t have an edge, you need to ask yourself why and you need to come up with something that places you above all of your business competitors so that people will want to buy what you are selling instead of what anyone else is selling.

How do you write a personal brand statement?

The first thing that you should do is to list your business and career attributes on a piece of paper. Once you have completed your list, take a hard look at it and choose those items on the list that really make you unique. Those items will be your unique selling points (USPs). Once you have identified your unique attributes and values, you need to write a one- to two-sentence brand statement. Your statement must answer the following questions:

  • What value do you provide (in other words, which problems do you solve)?
  • What is unique about what you do (your USPs)?
  • Which target audience do you provide value for?

The communication in your personal brand statement must be clear, concise and meaningful. You shouldn’t clutter your statement with words that are not really important. Your statement must ensure not only that you provide a unique value but that your value is in the most appropriate context as well. What may be of value in a large setting, for example, may not hold the same value in a small setting.

Focus on your target audience

Make sure that you don’t spread yourself too thin when it comes to your target audience. If you do make that mistake, you won’t be able to come across nearly as effectively. Being a generalist when it comes to personal branding is not recommended. People want to feel that they are being catered to by you on a very personal level. Your focus should be narrow and very specialized. You need to identify which target audiences would benefit the most from your products and/or services and go after that audience.

Make your personal brand statement memorable and catchy

Your statement should have simple language. The last thing that you want to do is to intimidate your target audience. Whenever you meet someone new, be sure to make an impression on that person that will stick with them. Your goal is not only to have that person remember you but you also want him or her to tell other people about what you do.

Be sincere

Your personal brand statement should be real and sincere. Don’t ever pretend to be someone you are not in your statement. The way that you will effectively build relationships with your audience members is by proving to them over time that you are a subject matter expert and that you really know what you are talking about. You can’t tell them that you are a credible person. You need to let them figure it out for themselves.

Your statement may change over time

Over the course of time, your statement may change and grow as you and your business change and grow. However, be careful that you don’t completely overhaul your statement every week. It is OK to make subtle changes but you never want to give the impression that you are fickle and are not really sure what you are doing.

Conclusion

Your personal brand statement is a critical part of your business identity and reputation. You can think of it as the first tool in your arsenal from which you build all of the other tools that will contribute to making you and your business a tremendous success. Now is the time to write an extraordinary personal brand statement that will speak volumes for you and your business.

Work Your Personal Brand for Job Search Success

Once developed, a personal branding statement should be incorporated into resumes, cover letters, and email signature lines as well as throughout social media. While it doesn’t have to be constantly repeated word for word-in fact, it shouldn’t be-that personal branding statement should nevertheless inform and inspire one’s online persona.

Your personal brand statement for job search should not be long. Five to 10 words tops will get the job done (e.g., “I’m the top dog trainer in Toledo.”) It’s all about unique positioning, so you’ll want to consider words such as “top” and “best” or “first” or “friendliest.” If you’ve garnered more awards and recognition than others in your company, now’s the time to say so with “award-winning” and “most recognized leader in Hoboken.”

One important note you must consider as you are going through this exercise: Avoid hype. Be authentic.

Visibility is important, but be professional, too. Leave consistent, recognizable digital footprints on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, ZoomInfo and other online properties that reflect a polished image.

Hiring managers and recruiters use social networking sites to source and investigate candidates. A forgotten blog, a Twitter account with only a couple of posts, or a LinkedIn profile that isn’t 100% complete will leave a poor impression. A professional homepage and online resume/portfolio-complete with a “first name, last name”.com domain name-is the perfect place to display a personal brand.

Job seekers whose vanity URLs are already taken can try adding a middle name, “PhD” or a similar distinguishing word. Then reserve that as a username across various social networking sites using NameChk.com; the days of getting away with “Andy12345” are over.

Since personal branding is about standing out from the crowd, creating a video resume or a mock video “interview” might be a smart decision, too. Sites like CareerBuilder and Vault are now offering video resume hosting. Keep it brief, professional and not gimmicky. But be warned: unlike a traditional resume, a video resume can go viral, damaging one’s personal brand. So think it through before you step in front of the camera.

Good personal branding radiates success. People like to work with competent, accomplished, even powerful individuals. But overt self-promotion is a career killer, as are narcissism and selfishness.

Ironically, personal branding might more accurately be described as “interpersonal branding.” Nurture your network to take advantage of word of mouth; focus on what you uniquely can offer others. Leaving a tidbit of practical advice on a comment thread makes a much better impression than a self-aggrandizing “personal statement” squeezed into an excessively long “look at me!” post.

Likewise, employers don’t care about a job seeker’s “objectives.” They want to know what you can do for them. Why not use that valuable resume real estate for a personal branding statement instead, one that focuses on what you will bring to the organization, not what you want to get out of it?

Personal branding is an ongoing project. So is the reputation management that goes along with it. Since most web searchers never look past the first page of Google results, job seekers need to “own” those top 10 results for their name.

That’s why taking control of one’s identity on Facebook and other popular sites is so important-it’s a way to “push down” negative references to the relative obscurity of page two or three of Google or other search engines. Companies like PeoplePond and QAlias can also help manage this sort of “personal SEO.”

Other firms, like Defend My Name and ReputationDefender help remove unflattering personal comments and online “smear campaigns” altogether. The payoff in personal branding is creating a powerful online reputation that aligns with who you are and demonstrates your distinct positioning–a positioning that any company would be foolish to let slip away. Such is the power of personal branding.