This Week in Positive Change Management : 5 Steps to Brand Consistency

02092016 Brand Consistency

 

There is a lot of poor branding out there. Every day some talking head is mentioning personal branding.  No one talks about brand consistency; however, brand consistency is the way to stay memorable and relevant. Here are my 5 steps to achieving brand consistency:

  1. Do your research

Doing your research is important because what you think your brand communicates isn’t necessarily want the marketplace thinks. Ask people inside and outside of your company and profession what three words come to mind whenever someone mentions you. Remember, the definition of branding is what people think of you when you are not around. If you don’t conduct the appropriate market research, you will never know how consistent (or inconsistent) your brand is.

 

  1. Write down your mission statement

Your mission statement represents your current brand. To obtain a clear mission statement, ask yourself these two questions:

  • What do I want my brand to accomplish?
  • How do I want my brand to communicate these accomplishments?

Your mission statement must answer these questions by writing down 3 action verbs that best communicate them. This statement will serve as your brand consistency’s bedrock.

 

  1. Define your vision statement. This will be your tagline.

Your vision statement is your optimal future version of your brand. It can also double as your tagline. Vision statements are usually less than 20 words and they communicate your brand consistency. You will be use your mission statement as the foundation to write your vision statement.

 

  1. Develop a brand communication plan.

Use your mission and vision statements to create a solid brand communication plan. It is essential to control how your brand is transmitted. Although you work in a company, your brand must consistently communicate wherever you go. This is why I have broken down 4 audiences that will receive your brand message.

 

Below is a graph showing 4 quadrants. The columns represent organizational structure. They are departments (internal) and professional network (external). The rows represent people. They are coworkers and industry professionals (internal) and company employees and regular workers (external).

 

  Department (Internal) Network (External)
People (Internal) Coworkers Workers in your profession but outside the company
People (External) Employees outside your dept. Workers outside both your profession and company

 

The first quadrant represents your coworkers are both inside your immediate department and whom you interact with on a daily basis. They are the ones whom you communicate the most. The second quadrant represents the company employees work in the same building but not the same department. Although they have the same company structure, their departmental culture may differ from yours. The third quadrant represents the workers in your professional network whom share your occupation but not your company. Your commonality is your industry but they work in different company cultures. The fourth quadrant represents the people whom are both outside your company and profession. When writing your brand communication plan, write for the people in this fourth quadrant. These people are unfamiliar with your industry jargon and company culture. If they understand your brand and what it represents, then you have achieved brand consistency.

 

  1. Execute your plan and collect feedback.

Once you have created your plan, start implementing it. Roll it out to all four quadrants and await feedback. Collecting feedback is critical towards evaluating your brand’s consistency level. If your industry or company has changed, these changes would be recorded in your feedback. Incorporate it back into your brand to achieve brand consistency for the long-term.

 

Using these 5 tips would help you achieve brand consistency. For more on this topic and other business strategies, visit http://positivitychange.com/

How to Reposition Your Brand when You Switch Careers

01272016 Reposition

In today’s workforce, it is rare that you will stay in your same position your entire career. You will move into other positions and even other companies. When you do, your brand will shift along with the move. For example, you start as a customer service representative in the call center. After 3 years, your department’s manager sees that you are really good at your job so you get promoted to customer relationship management (CRM) assistant in the market research division. Although you are in the same department (customer service), you are no longer talking with customers every day. You are now processing customer data to generate effective marketing campaigns. There are a lot of changes here. Not only have you been promoted but your new job is vastly different from your old job. Your professional brand has shifted and you need to reposition yourself for your new job. Below are my tips:

Pivot on your competitive advantage. In branding, competitive advantage is called your brand promise.

You must now discover what you do well on the new job. Using the CRM assistant as an example, your competitive advantage is that you can spot outliers in the data because you’ve spoken with the actual customers. This background knowledge helps you know that certain transactions are not in the correct group.

Over the course of my career, I have repositioned my brand five times (thus far). I have had to reposition my brand when I relocated from Cleveland to DC; promoted from economist to Program Analyst; became CAPM certified; transitioned from the public sector to private sector and, moving from employee to employer. Each time, I have to rely on a new competitive advantage to reposition my brand for greater success.

Identify what to keep, what to let go

Some things in your past career don’t work in your current career. For instance, in the call center, your key metric is reducing churn (telephone attrition). Now that you are the CRM assistant, you are responsible for data integrity. Although keeping people on the phone and making the sales were important as a sales representative, these skills are no longer important now.

Grow your new network without alienating your current network

The important thing here is to look at the overlap. Remember, your network is your net worth. For instance, both the customer service representative and the CRM assistant work in customer service and track customers. Therefore, if the CRM data is showing irregularities then you could still leverage your call center connections to discover why. Whenever I transition jobs or sectors, I always keep in touch with my former bosses and coworkers. You never know when you might need a favor or an unbiased professional opinion.

Hopefully these tips will help you reposition your personal brand because you deserve the best career! Check out more personal branding tips and positive change management strategies at my website is http://positivitychange.com/

 

This Week in Positive Change Management : Personal Brand Strategy Tips

01242016 You are the brand!

Developing a personal brand strategy is essential towards career advancement. Even before you walk into the office for an interview, your personal brand proceeds you. Here are several tips towards creating a dynamic personal brand strategy.

Your Competitive Advantage is Your Foundation

Your competitive advantage is the one thing that you do better than anyone else. It is also the foundation towards building your personal brand strategy. You must discover then market it to employers to guarantee landing that job offer that you cover. The main question you must ask yourself is what sets you apart from everyone else? (I discuss competitive advantage steps in my article here: http://bit.ly/1ZXCRzH)

Know your target market (companies that would benefit from your talents)

This is a critical step. One of the biggest mistakes that people often make is being everything to everyone. Well, you cannot do this which is why I stress knowing your target market. Once you’ve discovered your competitive advantage, research which industries are best suited for your talent. For instance, if you are a fashion designer, you wouldn’t apply for a construction job. You must know which industries complement your competitive advantage in order to successful craft your strategy.

Know how you want to position your brand

Brand positioning is another critical component. How are you marketing yourself? Are you entry-level, mid-level or senior-level? These are just the basics. We can drill deeper down into a category. For example, at the senior level, are you vying for a director, vice president or chairman position? These three different jobs require three different brand positioning strategies. That’s why you cannot be general here because you will get too many jobs that are not great fits. These generalities also waste a lot of your time sifting through these numerous positions.

Develop your pitch

Whether you like it or not, you are always in the business of selling yourself. Developing your pitch is your way to communicate your personal brand strategy. Your pitch should be in between 15-30 seconds long and include these four factors:

  • who you are,
  • what you do,
  • what you are looking for and
  • how you can solve a problem

Own yourself and your content

In the 21st century, owning your name domain is essential towards controlling your personal brand strategy; but, there are so many people who don’t own it. You must have your own platform to control what kind of message you want to transmit. Although social media is free, you don’t want to be at the mercy of Twitter, LinkedIn or any other sites to communicate your message. Go to Name.com, Domain.com or GoDaddy.com to search your name. If it is available, then buy it. Next, buy a self-hosted WordPress site not anything with name.wordpress.com! That’s unprofessional but more importantly, WordPress controls your platform. Go to WordPress.org, BlueHost or HostGator for self-hosting sites. There are many others.

I would also recommend that you start blogging on your site. Part of crafting your personal brand strategy is positioning yourself as an expert. Blogging about your professional expertise is a way to get noticed. Create content that supports your brand positioning. Write articles around your competitive advantage. The majority of my articles center around economics, brand management, change management and project management. For example, I publish my articles on my blog first before posting it on LinkedIn and Medium. There are so many people naively posting on LinkedIn who don’t have their own platforms. You cannot control your message when you don’t own yourself. LinkedIn owns all of your copyrights when you publish there first.

Develop a comprehensive brand marketing strategy

In marketing there are 4 Ps : product, price, place and promotion. Here you will create a comprehensive brand marketing strategy in order to capitalize upon all available opportunities. Once you have completed all of the previous tasks, doing this is fairly easy. Here is my 4Ps:

  • Product: you
  • Price: current or future salary
  • Place: Anywhere or your preferred region
  • Promotion:
    • In-person
    • Online: LinkedIn, social media, blog, website, podcasting

You are the product. The price is your current or future salary. If you are going for a promotion, research salaries through sites like Glassdoor.com, so that you aren’t lowballing yourself. You can also look at professional organizations because they keep salary profiles. For place, you can market yourself in a specific region or be open to relocation. Your strategy will change based on this. With promotion, you can sell yourself online as well as in-person. Always have an in-person component because you need to meet real people because it will be they not the computer algorithm that hires you.

New Positive Change with Carla Airing This Friday

Blogtalkradio

As previously announced on www.carlarjenkins.com, this week’s Positive Change with Carla will air on a special day. It will air Friday instead of Thursday. The new episode ‘Evaluating Your Annual Personal Career Brand Performance’ will delve into how to use your most recent performance rating to map out this year’s work performance strategy.

Check out the Blogtalkradio Positive Change with Carla episode link here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/missphenomena/2016/01/22/evaluating-your-annual-personal-career-brand-performance

This Week in Positive Change Management : Developing Your Unique Selling Proposition

12282015 Unique Selling Proposition

In the New Year, everyone wants to brush off their resumes and apply for the all new jobs. The problem with this strategy is that you’re doing the same thing this year as you were last year. Last check, insanity is the doing the same thing but expecting a different result. It is my responsibility to dispense truth and not sell pipe dreams to anyone here. Therefore, I am telling you that you need to develop your unique selling proposition in order to get a new job this year.

Developing a unique selling proposition (USP) is a great way towards managing positive change in the New Year. A USP is mostly associated with Fortune 500 companies but you can still apply these tactics towards bolstering your personal career brand. Your USP lets you develop a positive career message to sell yourself in the global career marketplace.

What is a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?

According to Kissmetrics (https://blog.kissmetrics.com/unique-selling-proposition/), USP is what your business stands for. Businesses with a USP stand for something specific, and it becomes what you’re known for.

Multinational brands like Pepsi and Cola-Cola have USPs. You must hone yours to differentiate yourself from the global competition. Yes, I mention global competition because unlike a whole lot of people on here, they are only focused on people in the United States. In the 21st century, you are competing against everyone in the world. Developing your unique selling proposition is a realistic way of landing a job. Below are the steps towards developing your USP (http://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/marketing/marketing-strategy/branding/developing-your-usp-a-step-by-step-guide). Although these are for companies, I have used for your personal brand:

Understanding your target audience

When I mention your target audience, what I mean the specific employers that fit your skill set. This is important because it is a waste of time to flood Monster and CareerBuilder with umpteen resumes with jobs that don’t fit. Cultural fit is the most important part of your unique selling proposition because it doesn’t matter if you get the money if you are miserable and your coworkers are backstabbers.

What is your competitive advantage?

Your competitive advantage is the one thing distinguishing you from your competitive advantage. I have discussed this in my former article entitled Promoting Your Competitive Advantage here .

Be a Problem Solver

Companies hire problem solvers plain and simple. Your cover letter must answer how you would solve their problems in general. In the interview you generally solve their problems. You DO NOT specifically solve their problems until they hire you and start paying for your expertise.

Testing and Refining Your USP

You have to put your USP out in the marketplace to evaluate its performance and obtain feedback. Feedback is essential towards perfecting your brand. If your USP isn’t generating phone screens or interviews, then you must refine it. Non-response is feedback that you should incorporate in order to get considered.

Communicating Your USP

Also you should refine your USP if you are getting interviews but not jobs. This means that you are doing something wrong in your interviews. Are you communicating that you are a problem-solver? That’s one of the steps. Remember that companies hire problem solvers; therefore, if you aren’t showing that you’re a problem-solver then add this into your USP.

You are a unique individual with distinguishable skills. Using these steps towards developing your unique selling proposition, increases the probability that you will land a new job this New Year.

If you like article and would like to read more check me out on PositivityChange.

 

Accepting Positive Risk

Accepting positive risk is a passive strategy. You accept your current situation as is or what might happen. For example, you accept that your boss might give you a raise before the next annual performance rating. This is highly unlikely, therefore, you should accept that there’s room for proactivity towards managing your life and career.

Courtesy of PM Study Circle (http://pmstudycircle.com/2015/05/risk-response-strategies-for-positive-risks-or-opportunities/)

Accept Pic

This Week in Positive Change Management: Handling High-Visibility Projects as a Newbie

Follow these four tips towards handling high-visibility projects as a newbie.

  1. Be thankful that someone had entrusted you with this opportunity.

This is a positive change event. Instead of being overwhelmed, be happy to view this as a chance to prove yourself in the marketplace and increase your professional credibility and visibility. Taking this more optimistic viewpoint enables you to devise an approach towards capitalized upon this new assignment.

 

  1. Conduct project and personnel research

First review the project materials. You have to know what you are undertaking. Possessing familiarity with it lets you excel. Next, research the people. You can view their bios on the company Intranet or their LinkedIn profiles. It is essential to know your future colleagues’ personalities and previous work histories so that you can effectively create a staffing management plan to effectively execute the project.

 

  1. Create your own personal project schedule

Creating your own personal project schedule helps you envision it. You can also incorporate a what-if analysis covering any and every possibility because projects never go according to plan. These ready-made answers are necessary because management wants a definitive response regardless of how the people act and the project is going.

 

  1. Practice presenting your plan

Although you’ve never done it before, you are still the project leader and must exude confidence to your workers and management. Having these ready-made answers from your personal project schedule are necessary because management wants a definitive response regardless of how the people act and the project is going.

Visibility Photo 2

This Week in Positive Change Management: Contingency Plans and Response Strategies

Life has thrown me some curveballs as of lately. The two things that I’ve done to dodge the craziness are to have contingency reserves and implement response strategies. My reserves include savings and skill sets. I keep my resume, LinkedIn and network contacts current because you never know what might be in store.

Having contingency reserves aren’t enough to stay afloat. You must have the appropriate contingency response strategies. For instance, say that you’ve polished your resume and received that promotion, now what? Well, this may mean a new wardrobe and maybe a tech upgrade. A new job might require learning new tech applications relevant to the current position. Developing contingency response strategies make the transition easier. Contingency reserves represent plans B through Z. It is hard to operate with these plans and strategies because even with managing positive change, life is hardly linear.