Creating a positive relevant personal brand means making your brand relevant to your target market. In other words, revealing the benefit of YOU to your target market—in this case your potential employer—is one of the keys to leveraging your brand. You might be sitting at the computer terminal wearing your headphones or with the television on in the background—convenient diversions—trying to figure out how to start. The importance of making your personal brand positive and relevant was the subject of my last post. Let’s get you started and keep up the momentum. It’s time to start marketing yourself.
Every marketing activity must always begin with the customer.
These are your customers. When I say marketing begins with your customers, that means learning all about them. After all, you are going to be building a long term relationship with your customer. So, like the personal, social relationships you are building, you need to discover what your customer is all about. How will you do that?
One simple word, one difficult challenge…research!
You might want to begin your research by first identifying an industry or two where you would like to work. Dare I say, think outside the box in this phase (pardon the cliché). For example, I teach sports marketing and many of my students are interested in careers in that field. For many, their vision is they need to work for a professional team to have a career in sports marketing. Not true. Most of today’s stadiums and arenas have corporate sponsors who spend millions of dollars on naming rights. Someone at these sponsor organizations needs to negotiate the deals and authorize the huge sums of money involved. I digress but I think you get the point.
Research your focal industries. How will you conduct your research? Read, Read, Read! Do some Google searches…not in the Google search bar, but rather in Google Scholar. That will limit your search to more reliable sources.
Read about your industries. Read about industry trends. Read about industry leaders. Find books written by these leaders. Often they are excellent sources of information and “how to’s”
While you are conducting your research, think about how your brand could be fitting in with these industries. Think about how you can position your brand to be a good fit in the industry. Consider how your brand can add value to your target industry/company/market. That should keep you busy for some time.
Start tinkering around with Google Scholar for a week or so. Visit your local library (one of the best resources you can find), and find some of those leaders’ books. This is an extremely important phase in developing your personal brand. The better you can identify, articulate, and ultimately make that fit with an organization, the greater your brand equity (value) to you and your employer! The research phase continues with my next post.
Howard, an Associate Professor of Marketing in the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics at the California State University Fullerton, earned his Ph.D. from Temple University. Prior to joining the faculty at Cal State, Howard was on the faculty at Drexel University and The Pennsylvania State University. A native of Philadelphia, Howard has extensive experience in the public and private sectors working for organizations such as the Department of Defense, Motorola, and the CSX railroad. His research expertise is in branding, sustainability, strategic pricing, and education. In addition to teaching at Cal State, Howard has a consulting business focused on branding. You can follow Howard on Twitter or connect with him at Linkedin.