by Linda Popky
Last month I spoke to the SV Forum Marketing SIG about the importance of managing your personal brand in a social-centric world. We talked about how important it is to apply the basic principles of Marketing to your own situation: You are the brand, and you need to position and promote yourself accordingly—whether you are employed by a company, looking for a position, or running your own business.
A number of people told me after the presentation they were going to become more actively involved in marketing and branding themselves. This is great news, but it doesn’t go far enough.
It’s time to take a lesson from the protest movement that has spread across America over the last several months. It’s time to Occupy your Brand.
The good news is you neither have to camp out in a public park in a tent, nor is there violence or civil disobedience involved. Instead, occupying your brand means you stake out a claim to what your personal brand should be, then show up and let the world know what your key differentiators are.
Here are a few guidelines to get you started:
- To quote my mentor, Million Dollar Consultant Alan Weiss, your first sale is always to yourself. If you believe you offer unique value to an employer or client, you can make others believe it. If you don’t believe this yourself, neither will anyone else.
- Stake out a position. Find the “ground” you want to occupy by understanding your strengths. Be sure the spot you’d like to claim isn’t already filled with others who’ve gotten there first. If that’s the case, you’ll need to find another piece of ground that can be uniquely yours.
- Go where you’ll be seen—by the people you want to hire you or recommend you. There’s a reason Occupy encampments are smack in the middle of urban areas: That’s where the traffic is. Go where the traffic congregates for your position or industry. Don’t hid in a corner and wait to be found.
- Let us know you’re there. Just being there isn’t enough—you have to make enough noise to attract the world’s attention. No matter how good you are, there’s no sound if you don’t make it. Take it upon yourself to tell the world who you are and why they should care.
Remember: Most people won’t take the time and energy to own their own career development or occupy their personal brands. That means just by showing up and focusing on this, you’ll stand out from the crowd. In this case, you *want* to be part of the 1% that stands out—not the 99% doing the same old thing and expecting different results.
So don’t wait for a written invitation. Get going on laying the foundation for a successful personal brand today. It’s up to you to occupy our interest on your career.
Founder and President of Leverage2Market Associates, Linda Popky is a strategic marketing consultant who helps transform individuals and organizations through powerful marketing programs. She works with a wide range of clients from individuals to Fortune 500 organizations. Learn more about her at www.leverage2market.com.