Article, Say It Like It Is – But Back It Up, by Paul Coppcutt :

Say It Like It Is – But Back It Up
by Paul Copcutt

Step 5 - Performance

Once you are clear about who you are, who your target audience is and why you are different from your competitors you are in a position to put that all together in a one sentence summary – your personal brand statement.

“I use my (differentiating attributes) to (purpose) for (target audience)” – this is your personal brand statement.

For example, an environmentally aware accountant might say:

“I use my caring and collaborative approach to develop self sustaining community supported projects for corporations that have their eye on the bottom line and the environment”

Even clients who have done all the necessary work up to this point still find it hard to distill down to a few words what it is they do, for whom and why they should be considered different. Sometimes using another longer form of ‘elevator speech’ or other such tool can be useful in getting clarity, enough that it can then be culled to just a dozen words or so.

Whilst this approach can appear alien to many of you, the statement needs to sound as natural as possible, its no good throwing in a bunch of words that sound great but have no substance or base of authenticity – its just spin if you are not connected or believe in what you are saying.

But the personal brand statement is just a start. Yes, its intention is to clearly define who you are to others, but what happens after that? The personal brand statement can be at best a conversation starter or a positioning statement, but its not going to seal the deal.

People are not rushing to you to offer you new jobs or opportunities based on this statement alone, you have to back up what you are saying with a lot more.

The key to a strong brand is following the 3 C’s rule – Clarity, Consistency and Constancy. What I call the Donald rule!

Love him or hate him, Donald Trump is a good example of a strong personal brand who follows the 3 C’s. He is clear with his message – if it’s a deal that involves real estate and it’s big and can have his name on the top – that’s on brand for The Donald. He’s very Consistent with that message, you do not see him wavering if there is an opportunity to be in a deal that is in an area he does not know, or with a product or service that does not have a direct link back to his core brand.

Even when you think about his spin off ventures Donald Trump is remaining consistent - from suits (his appearance and love of fine things) to The Apprentice (come and work for the biggest) to even his University (come and learn from the best).

And finally he uses all means possible to be Constantly in your face with his message – even his spat with Rosie O’Donnell was timed to coincide with the launch of his latest round of The Apprentice which was slipping in the ratings, so he picked on somebody who would bite back and who was on a high profile TV show thereby gaining more exposure.

I am not suggesting you need to have a public disagreement with a TV celebrity – but in all that you do to broadcast your message you need to remain clear, consistent and constant – only that way will people start to hear your message above all the others they are bombarded with each day and start to recognize you as an expert or someone to go to for your specific skills.

And also ensure that throughout the job search and selection process you follow this rule, because hiring companies are using more points of reference than just relying on HR or the hiring manager to say yes. They will involve others in and even outside the organization and with the rise in the use of the internet as a talent tracker what you say on line has to carry that same 3 C’s content.

Paul Copcutt is founder of Square Peg Solutions, and excels as a personal brand consultant for professional service providers and business owners who are missing out on great business opportunities because they are not clear on who what they have to offer, who they should be talking to or how to get their message out there.


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