Sunday, November 29, 2015

The 3 Keys to Successful Branding

Guest post by Mary Eileen Williams
Branding is the most fundamental—yet often most difficult—aspect of building a business. The same is true for creating an online presence or conducting a job search. In each of these instances, the rules are basically the same. You have to precisely and powerfully describe (1) who you are (your core message, experience level, specialized training, etc.), (2) the skills and expertise you offer and (3) the ways you will outperform the competition.

These three elements comprise the foundation of your branding campaign. They also form the critical components of how you need to describe yourself to potential clients, customers or employers. Whether you are presenting yourself online, on paper or in person, clarity and consistency are essential to both your brand and to your ultimate impact on the marketplace.

Here are three important areas for you to consider as you formulate your own unique and compelling brand.

#1 In order to highlight your skills, accomplishments and distinguishing attributes to your best advantage, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is my core message? What do I want people to take away from meeting me?
  • In which ways will I outperform the competition?
  • What qualifications do I bring that will add real value to a customer, client or an organization?
  • Which talents/experiences/accomplishments make me unique?
  • Which of my skills will most attract clients or job recruiters for my line of work?
  • Am I making sure to highlight the results I have achieved for customers/former employer(s)?
  • Am I quantifying the results I have accomplished so that they form a compelling representation of the outcomes I am capable of achieving?
  • Am I highlighting the 5 areas that will attract future clients/employers with bottom-line results: saved money, saved time, increased revenue, made operations more efficient and/or enlarged customer base?
  • Am I presenting myself in contemporary terms that represent today's in-demand skills and industry buzzwords? (You can find these keywords by reviewing your competitors’ advertisements and/or perusing the job listings for your line of work.)
#2 Ensure you are presenting a unified brand that remains consistent across the various ways you are marketing yourself. Be certain to consider:
  • Your elevator pitch/brief introduction
  • Your professional profile (top third of your website, sales brochure or resume)
  • The background/summary statement on your LinkedIn profile
  • The way you introduce yourself in E-mail messages, outreach correspondence or cover letters, etc.
#3 Guarantee that both you and your branding materials have visual appeal, by asking yourself:

  • Am I exuding a combination of professionalism and personal warmth in my dress and manner?
  • Does my body language—posture, eye contact, handshake, and facial expressions—support my brand and what I am claiming about myself?   
  • Are my marketing materials—all online profiles, brochures, cover letters and business cards—pleasing to the eye and easy to read?
  • Am I incorporating the liberal use of white space and bullets so that my key qualifications and accomplishments are readily spotted within a 30-second scan?
  • Am I presenting my skills in order of importance in each of my documents? (You want to make certain that your most critical and in-demand skills appear at the top and to the left, thereby making them easily accessible at a glance.)

By addressing each of these three areas as you create or update your branding campaign, you will be sending a persuasive and consistent message. Moreover, knowing that you exude a powerful presence (both in-person and online) will give you the confidence and the energy that is certain to move you forward. A compelling brand, a little luck and the right attitude should go a long way to make you a sought-after, highly attractive business owner or job applicant. In every way, successful branding is your ultimate key to success!

Mary Eileen Williams has over twenty years’ of combined experience as a career and life transition counselor, job search specialist, university instructor and author. As a Nationally Board Certified Counselor with a Master's Degree in Career Development, she specializes in working with jobseekers in midlife, showing them the latest techniques for landing a job in the 21st Century.

Her recently updated book, Land the Job You Love: 10 Surefire Strategies for Jobseekers Over 50is packed with insider tips to teach baby boomers how to navigate today’s competitive job market. She has been quoted in Money Magazine, Market Watch, Kiplinger and additional international publications. Eileen also writes a job search column for the Huffington Post at Huff/Post 50..

Additionally, Eileen hosts a popular blog and radio show called “Feisty Side of Fifty."

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