A Personal SWOT Analysis

For those of you that aren’t in advertising or marketing, SWOT is an analysis of a brand or product or person. The letters stand for Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats. It is a great way to further understand a brand or a product category. In this case, I want you to do a SWOT analysis for yourself. This is a great way to take a holistic look at your personal brand. It also highlights the areas in which you can improve yourself and your life.

Below I will explain each part of the SWOT analysis, and then I will use the Starbucks brand as an example.


What are the strengths of your brand? What are your strengths in regards to your category (in the job search or students), and as opposed to others?

Starbucks‘ strengths: universally recognizable, customizable drinks, partnerships with known brands, ambiance – comfortable, friendly stores, store placement, introduction of drive-throughs, convenience, consistency of experience, environmental reputation

Your personal strengths may include: internship and work experience, computer skills, social skills, etc.


What are your brand’s weaknesses? Where are other brands in the category stronger? Where would you want to improve?

Starbucks‘ weakness: prestigious reputation perceived as snobby, inconsistency with store experience, higher prices than main competitors, do not brew organic coffee in stores, confusing terminology when ordering

Your personal weaknesses may include: not speaking a foreign language, not knowing how to code for web, lack of masters degree, not being able to draw, etc.


Where can your brand grow? What are things that would be easy for you to learn that would drastically increase your “hire-ability”? What are other things people are/aren’t doing that you could do?

Starbucks‘ opportunities: Product placement (think Morning Joe on MSNBC), advertising to the digital consumer, expand on Fair Trade coffee beans, strengthen awareness partnerships and sponsorships, sell more ground coffee, easily accessible nutritional information, healthier and better food.

Your personal opportunities may include: Learning new computer skills, taking up a new hobby, forming your own volunteer organization, etc.


Where are other businesses encroaching on your business? Is the economy hurting your chances? Are costs rising? Time?

Starbucks‘ threats: Economy, coffee drinking trend may end, rise in cost of coffee and dairy products, copy cat brands, health consciousness, cannibalization of products.

Your personal threats may include: job candidates with similar strengths and experiences, poor interviewing skills, etc.

Good luck! I hope this helps you as a student, intern or full-time employee!


Shannon is a senior at Boston University majoring in Advertising in the College of Communication. She has experience working for NBC Universal in New York City as well as PJA Advertising and Marketing in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She loves clean functional digital design. Digital is the future of advertising and marketing and Shannon likes to stay involved and on trend. Visit her website or follow her on Twitter.

Related posts:

  1. Strategic Planning for Career Success: The Personal SWOT Analysis
  2. Personal Branding Predictions for 2010
  3. 10 Personal Branding Books

5 Responses to “A Personal SWOT Analysis”

  1. avatar Chuck Reed says:

    In any brand SWOT analysis, be sure to spend quality time on the ‘threats’ category. Investigate how your competitors are selling against your product portfolio. I’ve often enlisted our sales team to learn as much as they can so they can represent the competitive brand in sales training meetings.

  2. Great post! Too often we forget that the skills we are learning – in our advertising, marketing or public relations courses – can be applied to more than just product or client situations. It is a great reminder that we are worthy of our own public relations or advertising attention! I had never thought of applying a SWOT analysis to my own personal and professional self, but it is a helpful analytic tool for understanding where you, where you could go and what you must do to get there.

  3. The basic problem with the SWOT analysis is that, it don’t help you in decision making. After you do a SWOT analysis you don’t really know what to so next!

  4. avatar great try says:

    Good post, Shannon, first of all, let me correct you on the fact that SWOT is not only for MKTG or Advertising folks, it is well known term, and most business professionals use it. Second, it is not only applied in the research of the brand or category but also the research of the industry and sometimes in personal matters, such as the one you are discussing, personal brand.

  5. [...] unusual, I admit. I did a little research and found this. I think I am going to try it this summer. Tags: Creative Thinking, Fresh Start, [...]

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