Unit 2 | You as the Product©
Applying You as the Product©: the Elevator Speech
The elevator speech is an important tool in personal branding. It’s like having a verbal business card. Ralph explains how to make your elevator speech work for you.
Given the presence and influence you can build using Twitter, Face book, LinkedIn, YouTube, web sites, email and blogging, every person and every company has a brand. That’s the good news and the bad news. Whether you are consciously building your brand or neglecting this task, your colleagues, clients, boss, friends, competitors, fans and anyone else that can Google your name either has, or can quickly form an opinion of your brand and reputation. So what are you doing about building your brand? Seth Godin said it well, “Many of us are taught to do our best and then let the world decide how to judge us. I think it’s better to do your best and decide how you want to be judged. And act that way.”
Personal branding requires you take a strategic and proactive approach to influencing and positioning yourself in any way you can and wherever you can be found. In today’s global age, virtues that our parents taught us, such as modesty, don’t help us when everyone around us operates under a different set of rules. It’s no longer enough to work hard, sit back and expect recognition and promotion for a job well done. This does not give you licence to create a false or exaggerated identity or on-line persona. It does mean that you must actively and consciously be making decisions and taking action to control the way you are viewed and perceived.
By embracing personal branding as an individual promotion strategy, you will be able to position yourself for recognition, promotion and discovery by potential clients or followers and raise your value in the minds of your peers, boss and clients. It takes a strategic approach to planning and conducting your career and business. Personal branding goes beyond creating a public career develop plan, it enables you to position yourself to achieve career goals or raise awareness of your accomplishments so that others will sing your praises and confirm your skills. If you work for a firm and enjoy your job and want to build your career there, strengthening your personal brand and being recognized as an expert or leader within your market, industry or social network can provide leverage and help you advance. Your brand is also a direct reflection of your company’s brand. The values and behaviors your personal brand project address the values and conduct of the organization you represent. When you are selling your company and your company’s products, you first begin by selling YOU.
Think “You” as the Product© in terms of what you offer your clients; the value do you bring to your organization right through to the way you “package” and present yourself. Everything counts towards building your brand and reputation. If the idea of packaging yourself and packaging your brand is foreign to you, this unit will help you get started.
“Part of the answer is in making the brand more—not less—central. In a hyper-transparent digital world, consumers instantly know the difference between what a company says and what it does. Organizations can no longer draw clear lines between marketing and product development, between communications and services. Brand builders must embed themselves across the customer value chain. Products and services must be able to tell a story and communicate value without an extra advertising layer on top. As information is more and more available and the importance of brands increases, the ability to tell a meaningful story through actions and products, not words, is the only way to win.’
Source: Brands Aren’t Dead, But Traditional Branding Tools Are Dying by Jens Martin Skibsted and Rasmus Bech Hansen
“The most influential person who will talk to you all day is you, so you should be very careful about what you say!” – Zig Ziglar