IS YOUR BRAND READY FOR 2018?
Make this year the year that you have a great and appropriate response for the question: “What do you do?” Even though this is a question that most people get somewhat regularly, most people are unprepared and ‘flunk’ this test by saying too much, by using jargon, or by talking about what they know, rather than what difference they’re making in their organizations.
Your “brand” is really your reputation, and your “brand statement” or as we prefer to call it, your positioning statement or value statement, should tell what’s distinctive about you…what differentiates you from all the others that have similar titles or have done similar things.
Your value statement should:
- Be outcome focused – not stating skills, titles, attributes, but results you’ve provided for your employers, and customers
- Have some pizzazz, using vivid language so it’s memorable and repeatable
- Use simple – 8th grade – language (I always say that my mother should be able to understand it)
You probably want to have three levels of brand statements – all congruent, but different lengths and different levels of detail: one that is longer (2 to 3 sentences) for interviews and more in-depth discussions; one that is a little shorter and good for networking meetings; and one that is very short and good for using at a social gathering – a barbeque or a cocktail party.
Here’s an example of a few statements from a person that we worked with:
- “I am an OD Consultant who structures synergy between organizational silos by leveraging team competencies to create multi-functional alignment, producing high-engagement cultures that produce results.”
Ugh! Too full of jargon. For starters, most people don’t know what an “OD consultant” is (FYI, it means organization development). It certainly doesn’t invite conversation – what can you say or ask after a statement like this?
- “I am an OD consultant who partners with senior leaders to create high-engagement cultures.”
- “I partner with leaders committed to creating high-engagement cultures that attract top talent, deliver exceptional performance, and really produce a sustainable competitive advantage.”
Definitely better! Still a little jargon. A little more engaging.
To increase impact and memorability she decided to make it more vivid:
- “I help companies create workplaces where people can’t wait to get there in the morning, and don’t want to leave at night.”
This is great! And she could add an outcome: “…this increased retention and, productivity.” This statement invites questions (”How do you do that?”) which can lead to a conversation, and allow her to expand, if the situation calls for it.
Creating a great brand/value/positioning statement takes time, and often some help from others who know you. One consultant we know suggests that you write 50 versions, and then you’ll be getting close to one that will work for you. However, this is the foundation of your brand and core to your communication strategy, so it’s usually worth the time. This is the year to get on it!