It’s What’s Inside (Your 3D Brand) That Counts

There’s much more to your personal brand than a slick professional profile, clever slogan, and appealing graphics.

All of these external elements make up the “skin” of your personal brand… the attractive outer packaging that contains your brand’s inner substance.

Think of it this way….

new_car
A new car’s “skin” is its initial attraction, but it’s what inside that counts.

When buying a new car, we’re all initially attracted to its appealing “skin:” phenomenal paint, great lines, stylish trim package, huhttp://authenticpersonalbranding.com/core/wp-admin/post.php?post=2558&action=editge moon-roof, tinted glass, heated and cooled leather seats, name brand tires, low profile rims, etc.

But no one would buy just the “skin” of a vehicle. With nothing inside, it would be little more than an expensive piece of driveway
or parking lot decor. Who wants THAT?

When shopping for a vehicle to transport you, or you and your family, from point A to points B, C, D…  you’ll look at the substance beneath the vehicle’s attractive exterior and interior to find out if it:

  • Is powered by an engine that meets your needs
  • Is equipped with the transmission that can handle the terrain you drive
  • Comes with the navigation, entertainment, climate, communications and
    seating features that make driving safe, comfortable and convenient

Now your personal brand is NOT a luxury car, family van, or sporty SUV… But the vehicle example is useful to separate a brand’s exterior good looks from the value of the experience you get when driving.

Your personal brand is an asset.
It’s part of who you are;
always
with you, always serving you.

When you think of your personal brand, think of it as a powerful, dynamic entity that’s fully equipped to take you to your desired destination.  It’s also a robust life navigation aid you can trust to guide you through volatile situations, unstable terrain, around roadblocks and dead ends.

It’s truly a case of, “It’s what’s inside that counts!”  So contact me!
Let’s lift the hood of your brand, and take a peek at what’s inside.
rdj @ authentic personal branding .com

Are You Moving Forward? Or Barely Keeping Up?

If life is good, you’re having fun and achieving all of your goals on schedule, bravo!

But if you’re not loving life…
And thinking about your future sends you scurrying back under the covers…
If colleagues are speeding past you with frightening regularity…
It’s time to change things up!

Authentic Personal Branding is your “scurry preventer.”

By showing you how to recognize and excel in what really counts,
it eliminates both the need for ncovers, and the desire to hide.

British PM Benjamin Disraeli, renown for his social and political acumen,  accurately observed:

“The secret of success in life is to be ready for opportunity when it comes.”

Your Authentic Personal Brand prepares you for the opportunities you want, so you can seize them, when they show up.  Our branding process supercharges your self insight. You know what makes you stand out, and what it takes to get chosen.  You know what you do exceptionally well, with little effort.  And when you focus your time and effort on what you
do best, most easily, success is inevitable.

Your Authentic Personal Brand removes any chance of fooling away your time, and more importantly, your opportunities, and your success!

Q: How much time and effort does it take to build a personal brand?
A: It’s totally up to you.
  You can apply as much, or as little, as you choose.

You can go for it—build, test, and implement your brand in just 60 days.

You can also pace yourself.  Give it an hour a week. Let the process percolate. Allow your ideas to bubble up. Give your concepts the time
they need to mature.

And feel free to pull out your branding program whenever you need a reason NOT to…

  • Join your colleagues for an evening of embarrassment at a Karaoke Bar
  • Attend your cousin’s boss’s daughter’s Baby Shower
  • Show up at your sister’s latest Network Marketing venture meeting

Just say, “Sorry guys, I’ve gotta work on my brand!”

Your Personal Branding Options

Time: 5 Minutes:  Effort: Low
If you’re marginally interested in personal branding, take our quick quiz
to learn just a little bit more.

Time: 8 Minutes:  Effort: Low
If you’ve invested in a brand that’s not as appealing or effective as you want it to be, we can pinpoint what’s wrong, and help you fix it.
Download our Personal Brand Assessment overview.
It takes less than 10 minutes.

Time: 15 Minutes:  Effort: Low
If you’re interested enough to wonder what a personal brand can do for you, let our overview video lay out all the benefits, in less than 15 minutes.

Time: 20 Minutes:  Effort: Moderate
And if you’re committed to building an Authentic Personal Brand from the
ground up, set aside 20 minutes to read about our program. Or contact us to book a 20 minute phone call, and get all of your questions answered, instantly.

So there you have it!  Now stop scurrying, build your brand, put it out there, and take the fast track to success!

5 Employer Biases Hinder 50+ Job Seekers

Ron Jameison presents, Happen Networking Meeting

Why are so many 50+ professionals failing to convince employers to hire them, losing heart, and dropping out of the search process far too soon?

This was the presentation topic at a networking  meeting I attended in Mississauga this week.

According to Ron Jamieson and Karen Tulk, of the Toronto based recruiting firm, Hire Gray Matter, in addition to reversing their search tactics and being prepared to search for as long as 12 to 18 months, mature job seekers must also be able to successfully neutralize five employer age biases in order to land a suitable position.

While Jamieson and Tulk make a strong case for the importance of these biases, as the inventor of Authentic Personal Branding, I remain convinced that understanding and effectively communicating the value you bring to the table is the key to being the candidate of choice, at any age.

(If you’re not clear on the benefits you offer prospective employers, you won’t stand a chance of convincing them to choose you. Don’t delay! Grab my free 4-step Value Proposition Development Exercise and get started!)

Combining our perspectives makes it clear that the most successful job seekers are:
a) Self aware, and able to skillfully
b) Match the benefits they offer to eash specific prospective employers’ needs

c) Identify recruiters’, hiring managers’ and prospective bosses’ biases, and…
d) Deconstruct these biases as soon as they show up

So let’s take a look at the biases Hire Gray Matter cites as key deterrents to the employment of mature, experienced professionals.

5 Employer Age Biases:

  1. Lack of Drive and Energy:
    50+ applicants must battle the stereotype that pigeonholes them as old, tired, and ready for the rocking chair. Staying fit, dressing appropriately and presenting with youthful vitality all go a long way to over-
    coming this perception. Adding active personal interests and hobbies to resumes and LinkedIn profiles
    is also a plus. “After all,” Tulk quips, “No one thinks of a kayaking enthusiast as over sixty.”
  1. Technology:
    To avoid coming across as a dinosaur, it’s critical that older professionals stay current with the latest technologies. They must set aside their own biases against texting or Skyping, and jump in with both feet.
    An abundance of free online tutorials offer updates on social media tools, the latest smartphone apps, technology trends, on-line networking sites, and much more.
  1. Skills:
    Whether they were “grandfathered” into their former position, or have all but the latest credentials, Tulk advises older workers to consider updating their certifications.  Recruiters looking for key certifications, such as a PMP (Project Management Professional) tend not to select an older applicant with 20 years experience and no credentials over a younger applicant with their PMP certification and 10 years experience.  However, when choosing between equally credentialed candidates with unequal experience,
    the applicant with more experience will have an edge.
  1. Salary:
    The belief that older, more experienced professionals cost more is accurate.  Tulk counsels senior professionals to be flexible in their salary expectations, such as opting for shorter hours (3 – 4 days a week, vs. 5) or longer vacations to make themselves more affordable. For older workers wanting to change their life/work balance, this may be appealing. However, if that is not the applicant’s goal, there are alternative approaches.
    .
    Mature professionals could offer to work on a consulting basis. Not having to provide health, pension and other employee benefits makes a worker more affordable, without reducing their professional value in the employment marketplace.
    .
    Negotiating a lower base salary paired with a higher, performance-based bonus demonstrates the candidate’s confidence in their ability to deliver value.  But… this approach should be used only by those applicant’s who are very confident, because… While it reduces the employer’s risk, it also provides a sort of hiring insurance. If the employee doesn’t hit their performance targets, not only won’t the employer have to pay their bonus, they gain cause to replace the under-performing employee.
  1. Younger Bosses:
    Older workers will end up reporting to younger bosses. It’s inevitable, given current demographics. Tulk advises older workers to show younger bosses the same respect and deference they would to a boss of their own age or older.  She also cautions older workers to resist urges to lecture the young pups on what the old dogs can teach them.

Join this discussion!

If you’ve faced these age biases or others in your job search, take a minute to add your comments.
Tell us about the situation you experienced it, and how you handled it.

Active searches and personal brands even the odds for mature job seekers continues this conversation, by focusing on the Job Search Myths keeping older candidates off recruiters’ short lists, and the real odds older applicants face in the current recruiting “Buyers’ Market.”

Relevance and Personal Branding

Your Authentic Personal Brand positions you as the Obvious Best Choice.

In Module 1 Stage 4 of the Authentic Personal Branding Process you
define and get to know your target market: the people you serve.

This is a critical element in creating a relevant message, because…
Presenting a relevant message is key to attracting positive attention.

Your Authentic Personal Branding Attention Getting Strategy connects the dots
for prospective customers, colleagues, and employers.  Point by point it demonstrates how your skills, experience, and accomplishments deliver their wants, fulfill their needs, and achieve their goals.

Relevance is key to your attention getting strategy.

If you don’t know what your audience needs, wants, or aspires to, it’s easy to miss the mark.  Even worse, you risk alienating the people you want to attract.

These TV commercials  provide excellent examples of “What Not To Do.”

Commercial #1 begins with a job applicant climbing into an air duct in the ceiling and crawling through it. Moments later, she falls onto the floor  in an employee bathroom. The disheveled applicant picks herself up, shakes herself off, and hands her resume to an executive who ignores her sudden crash landing.   Watch commercial

Commercial #2 opens in a high-rise office boardroom. As a window washer’s platform rises into view, the operator rolls out a series of signs, asking to be hired. He attempts to stick these to the windows. But when
a gust of wind carries some letters away, all that remains is a partial message that embarrasses the meeting’s leader.  Watch commercial

While both scenarios are entertaining, these tactics could never get these job seekers hired. In both cases, the applicants fail to recognize the needs of their prospective employers. Instead of being innovative or inspired, their attention getting strategies are intrusive and unwelcome.

When implementing an attention getting strategy, it’s easy to forget that you’re targeting people with unique wants and needs. Forget that and you’ll miss the mark. Focus on THEIR wants and needs, instead of your own, and your messages will be much more likely to attract positive attention and responses.

Producing focused messages that are relevant and welcome is one of the most useful applications of your Authentic Personal Brand.

Define your target market. Identify the relevant benefits you offer them. Your brand messages will both capture their attention, and build positive rapport.

Are You Giving Your Customers What THEY Want?

 Or are you trying to force them to buy what YOU think they need?

IMG_1746eA recent conversation with a client revealed a vital insight. During the “Discovery Stage” of our Authentic Personal Branding Program. she became aware of a characteristic that, if unchecked, threatens to derail her professional success.

My client is an intelligent, knowledgeable, hard working professional who genuinely cares about her clients and truly loves her work. But… she tends to “overestimate people.”

This “fatal flaw” is, ironically, directly related to the breadth of her expertise and the depth of her caring.

When clients come to her for a thimbleful of advice, she often gives them a bucketful instead.  And because it’s obvious that she has their best interests at heart, most of her clients take the bucket, and thank her. But few follow through. Most don’t even come close to using the whole bucket….

There are many valid reasons why this happens!

  • They’re not THAT interested
  • They’re not THAT motivated
  • The issue is not THAT important to them (or they don’t fully grasp its critical nature)
  • Following through requires a LOT more work than they expected
  • They aren’t willing to devote THAT much time to it

These folks got more than they bargained for, which, if you’re talking about a “Super Saturday” sale at Macy’s, is
a good thing.  But when you set out to buy a box of band-aids and end up with an advanced first aid training kit, you won’t feel quite so lucky. You’ll feel burdened. So you’ll take out the box of band-aids and put them in your medicine cabinet. Then, when you’re fed up with feeling guilty that you haven’t watched the kit’s training videos and figured out how to use all its contents, you’ll stuff it into a closet somewhere and forget about it.

Getting more than they bargained for is not just bad for my client’s customers. Over-delivering is bad for my client too! Her customers’ failure to follow through and achieve the results she wants for them leaves her disappointed and disheartened. It often also leaves her carrying the load. Because when they don’t do the
work, she tends to jump in and help, so they’re sure to get the outcomes she truly believes they need.

Does this sound familiar?

Are you giving your clients what THEY want?  

Or are you burdening them with what YOU believe they need?

To get your own insights, check out:
Stage 1 – DISCOVER –  Your Brand
Module 2: Find Out What Others REALLY Think of You

Are You Promoting Your Authentic Personal Brand to “Dream” Clients or Your “Real” Target Market?

real-target-market

Is Your “Dream” Client
a Fantasy or a Reality?

This is a question that must be answered by everyone going through MIBOSO’s Authentic Personal Brand Development process.

Is the Answer to this Question Important?

YES! Because it’s all too easy to create a fantasy “dream client” that doesn’t exist in the real world! And if you’re not promoting your authentic personal brand to your “real” target market, you have little chance of attracting the “customers” that will make your business or career a rousing success.

What’s the Difference Between a “Dream” Client and a “Real” Target Market?

A “Dream Client” is a fantasy composite of all the traits you wish your customers would have. These traits may have NEVER shown up in the customers (bosses , colleagues or clients) you have served.  But you wish they would!  A “Dream” Client wish list typically looks like this:

My Dream Client:

  • Appreciates what I do
  • Is eager to pay me VERY well
  • Insists on paying me in advance
  • Allows me to give them whatever I think or feel is appropriate
    (In other words, they let me “run the show”)
  • Is extremely interested in how I do what I do
  • Constantly promotes me to their network
  • Refers other “Dream” Clients to me on a regular basis
  • Is very understanding and never complains when I am unavailable

How many people do YOU know that fit this criteria?  Five? Two?  None?

Now that we’ve examined the “Dream” Client, let’s take a look at your “real” target market.

A “Real” Target Market is Based on Historical Facts and Proof:

Accurate research and applied insight are required to create a “real” target market profile. The Target Market Profiling Module in MIBOSO’s Authentic Personal Branding Process includes the following questions:

  1. Who has valued the work you’ve done most highly?
  2. Why did they value it?
  3. For which bosses/clients have you been most efficient/productive?
  4. In what ways were you so efficient/productive?
  5. At what tasks do you consistently excel?
  6. In what environments/settings do you consistently excel?
  7. When told your performance is superior to others’, what specific factors make it superior?

Rely on Evidence and Facts, Not “Fuzzy” Praise

It’s crucial that when answering these questions you rely ONLY on evidence and facts, not platitudes,  unsubstantiated generalizations, or “fuzzy” praise.  For example, if you have been told, “You make everyone feel good about themselves.” What tangible result came out of, “everyone feeling good?” What proof do you have for that? If you can find some proof or evidence to back up what others have told you, you have solid data for your target market profile.  If you can’t quantify what you’ve been told, toss it out and look for more “provable” feedback.

Once you’ve figured out what makes you shine in the eyes of certain people, you need to switch your focus from yourself, to them, in order to determine:

  • Who finds you appealing and outstanding?
  • What are their needs and challenges?
  • What benefits do you offer that will fix their problems and/or fulfill their needs?

Identifying Your “Real” Target Market

targetTheir Demographics will tell you where they congregate: (work,  live or play), how much they earn, how old or young they are, their educational background and much more…

Their Psychographics will tell you:  what they want, what they value, what challenges them, what intErests them and how much NOT having what they want is costing them. This could be an emotional cost, a lost opportunity cost, an ethical cost, or an actual hard cash expense. It could also be some mix of all or a few of each of these different costs. Most importantly, their psychographics will tell you how much your solution is worth to them!

The Final Reality Check

When you have your full target market mapped out – demographics and psychographics – do the final reality check. Test it with people who fit your target market profile.

But don’t stop there! Refine it with every client, colleague and boss you serve.

Keeping your target market profile current and “real” means that you’ll ALWAYS know “who wants what you’ve got.”  And when you know that, you’re well on the way to successfully promoting your authentic personal brand.

If You Build It, Will They Come?

crusoe-beachIf you have a “Big Idea” for a business, a product or a service, what’s the first thing you need to do?

Does your mind replay the old “Field of Dreams” mantra? “If you build it, they will come!”

In today’s economy, separating fact from fiction is key to lasting success.

Don’t “build it” and expect “them”
to show up.

That only worked in the movie. And remember who showed up to play in that Field of Dreams? Dead people!  And whether we’re talking about reality or a silver screen fantasy, dead people are only good business for those dealing in wills, estate sales and burial services.

If you have a “Big Idea” for a business, a product or a service, the first thing you need to do is
determine if it really IS a “Big Idea.”  Because it could also be a whim, a hobby or a change of
format masquerading as a “Big Idea.”

Is it REALLY a “Big Idea?”

How do you tell? If it’s more beneficial to you than it is to your customers, it’s likely not a
“Big Idea” and will have to be checked out very carefully, or it could damage or destroy your current business.

FOR EXAMPLE:

Changing your in-person consulting work you to a telephone or online collaboration platform is NOT a “Big Idea.” It’s a change of format. And it may be wonderful for you.
But it’s NOT necessarily a benefit to your customers.

Doing the consulting work you used to do in person by phone or using an online collaboration platform is NOT a Big Idea – it’s a change of format. And it may be wonderful for you. You won’t have to  race through airports and manage the logistics of delayed flights, lost luggage and stale hotel rooms. But to your customer’s it’s NOT a benefit Because they have to learn your new system (do more work) to get the same result or possibly, less than the same result if they enjoyed working with you face to face.

Is it YOUR “Big Idea?”

If you have decided that your concept really IS a “Big Idea,”ask yourself the following
questions to determine if it’s YOUR “Big Idea.” Seriously!  It might belong to someone else!

Question #1

How does this “Big Idea” move me closer to my:

  • Personal Vision?
  • Tangible Goals?

big-idea

You’ll actually have to look at the elements of your personal vision and tangible goals to answer this question.  Dig deep and ask yourself:

Will pursuing this “Big Idea” enable me to:
1. Achieve my revenue goals?
2. Use my strengths / talents?
3. Align with my values / ideals?
4. Involve me in activities I enjoy?
5. Connect me with people I like?
6. Allow me to use my most productive work-styles?
7. Fulfill my works-space and geographic preferences?
8. Support my family’s goals?

Once that’s clear – if it turns out that the “Big Idea” you’ve been contemplating
DOES belong to you – tackle the next question.

Question #2

This is the question you need to ask to assess the viability of your “Big Idea.”

“Is there a need for my “Big Idea?” Does it have a viable market?”

Now, as “Big Ideas” are a dime a dozen, what you need to figure out next is whether or not your idea is viable. Does it offers a product or service that is needed by a specific market? In short, will it sell well?

There are few situations as discouraging as having taken the time, money and energy required to actually build your “field of dreams,” your “Big Idea,” only to realize that no-one has any interest in it.

“But my idea is totally unique!” You protest. “There’s no way to test such an original concept!”

The Good News & The Bad News

The good news, from a practical viewpoint, is that there are very, very, VERY few genuinely original ideas. This is also the bad news, from an ego based perspective. Sure, we’d all like to be the person who  invented the personal computer, or Post It Notes. But before we get too envious,  let’s look at what it takes to develop a totally original “Big Idea.”

Q: How Many Inventors Does it Take to Develop a Light Bulb?
A:  Seven Inventors + 110 Years.

  • lightbulb1800: Humphry Davy invented electric light
  • 1860: Sir Joseph Wilson Swan improved it
  • 1877: Charles Francis Brush advanced the concept
  • 1879: Thomas Edison’s bulb lasted for 1500 hour
  • 1881:  Lewis Latimer improved Edison’s bulb
  • 1903: Willis Whitney made another improvement
  • 1910: William Coolidge perfected it

In order to devote ourselves to developing totally original “Big Ideas,” we do best if we are unemployed and funded well enough to survive for many years without generating any revenue. Most of us don’t have that option. So the fact that virtually no “Big Ideas” are one hundred percent unique is a distinct advantage.

Your “Big Idea’s” Similarity to Proven Ideas Lets You “Look Before You Leap”

Check out the validity of your “Big Idea” by researching similar products and services.

1. What are their strengths?
2. What are their weaknesses?
3. What are their recurring challenges?
4. Who are their customers?
5. What do their customers complain about?
6. What do their customers rave about?
7. Is this market sector emerging, growing, flat or declining?
8. Is market-share available?
9. Why will their customers  choose you over them?
10. What’s your revenue potential?
11. What’s your downside risk?

When the concept for MIBOSO showed up as a “big idea”, back in 1997, I ran through these questions myself.

1asigMy assessment predicted that my “Big Idea” (running a full service brand agency) would move me closer to my personal vision and and tangible goals. And it has!


My “Big Idea:”

  • Positions me to generate more revenue than I did as an executive with a set salary
  • Allows me to do the work I enjoy most and do best, namely:
    Authentic Business Branding & Authentic Personal Branding
  • Frees me from tasks I don’t enjoy
  • Aligns with my values around authenticity, creativity, making a difference and delivering excellence
  • Fulfills my passion for guiding individuals and businesses to become “authentic” and leverage their strengths, passions, values, experience and talents in order to achieve their visions
  • Utilizes my creative, motivational, mentoring and problem solving  talents
  • Introduced me to thousands of wonderful clients, some of whom have since become good friends
  • Identified my most productive work-style: writing + talking + listening
  • Enables me to work from a home office where I am accessible to my daughter and my dog, not to mention my tea kettle! Yes, I am fueled by gallons of tea!
  • Gives me the opportunity to learn a lot about technology
  • Challenges me to expand my time and financial management skills

When I answered Question #2, I assessed other (Business) Brand Agencies on a number of levels and determined that there WAS a viable market need that MIBOSO could target and fill.

Riding Ahead of the Curve

Assessing the Authentic Personal Branding aspect of my business was more of a challenge, as in 1997, that truly was an emerging market! I learned (after the fact) that when you jump onto the leading edge – or ride slightly ahead of the curve – you need to be willing to do a LOT of teaching and explaining. And as in the world of institutional education, teaching is NOT a job that pays well.  A recent Business Week article, “Think Twice About Being First to Market,” explains why being ahead of the curve is not always an advantage.

radio2This was a trend I continued when I founded Miboso Radio in 2002.  I was WAY ahead of the curve in pod-casting. Since 2005, I’ve made what I learned available to people who are considering getting into web or blog talk radio.

There is little that’s more truly satisfying than work that:

  • You love
  • You do well and easily
  • Aligns with your values
  • Satisfies your passions
  • Furthers your ideals
  • Achieves your vision
  • Connects you with people you enjoy
  • Enables you to fulfill your commitments
  • Meets your work-style, work-space and geographic requirements

So assess your “Big Idea” carefully, and if it checks out:  Work hard and prosper!

Our 4-Step Authentic Personal Brand Value Proposition Development Process

1-blueThe First Step in Your Authentic Personal Brand Value Proposition Development Process is to:

Start really hearing (and recording) all the positive feedback you receive.  Yes – write down each and every compliment too!

Truly hearing and accepting compliments and positive feedback is the key to this part of the process because it’s the single FASTEST way to get an understanding of the value that you provide to others.

This is not as easy as it sounds!

Most of us tend to experience “temporary hearing loss” when we’re praised. You know how that feels!  It’s a numbing out that blocks our hearing and prevents us from taking in what’s said. Compliments land on us – then slide off – as if we’re covered in non-stick coating.

Truly taking in praise is a new experience for many! (And it’s a real “feel good” thing to do once you get over the shock factor.)

To Complete Step 1

  1. Practice really hearing compliments and positive feedback, and writing them down.
  2. You’ll also want to go through old performance reviews, letters of recommendation and even saved thank you notes.
  3. Identify all of the points that others have identified as praise worthy, and write them down.

This Cache of Positive Feedback Tells You:

checkSpecifically why others value what you do

checkWhich of your skills, talents or personal qualities they find exceptional

Now – what you need to be careful of at this point is the desire to dismiss others’ input as less “true” than your own beliefs.  Other people are much more objective about you than you are about yourself. So their views are actually more likely to be accurate than your own.

2-greenThe Second Step in Your Authentic Personal
Brand Value Proposition Development Process:

In this step you’ll go beyond passively accepting input
and take a more direct and active approach.

To Complete Step 2

  1. Identify 10 – 15 people whose opinions you respect and ask them:
    “What is the single greatest value that I provide?”
  2. Record their responses.

Yes – you DO need to write them down, or better yet, get as many people as possible to send you their feedback via e-mail so that you can compile all of their messages into a single document. NO EDITING BY YOU  is allowed at this point!

3-goldThe Third Step in Your Authentic Personal Brand Value Proposition Development Process is to:

  1. Sort through all of the feedback you’ve received and identify common themes.
  2. Categorize the feedback and give each category a title.
  3. Don’t change the writers words and descriptive phrases.

The only editing you should do is for context.  Sort “like comments” into “like categories.

For Example: These comments would all be grouped together, as they address “like” sets of personal traits and attributes. A title for this category could be “Drive and Curiosity.”
– You have a unique combination of credibility, proven success, and drive.
– You have many diverse interests, talents, skills, traits from technical to people related.
– You are outgoing and curious.
– You have an intense curiosity about the world, about life and about people.
– You have an inspiring thirst for knowledge.
– You strive to learn.
– You are open to learning.
– Your questions are  effective in uncovering and developing learning opportunities for others.

4-navyThe Fourth Step in Your Authentic Personal Brand Value Proposition Development Process:

Stage four takes you back to the direct track.  Ask the same (or a different group of 10 – 15 people) whose opinions you trust to help you validate the input that you have sorted into categories.

To Complete Step 4

Ask the people who are willing to help you validate your responses to:

  1. Review the common themes you have created
  2. Comment on their accuracy, and suggest changes that will make your categories cleaner and more specific
  3. Rank your categories  in order of dominance ( From your strongest to weakest)
  4. Rank your categories in order of importance to them.
    For example, is your curiosity more valued by them than your drive to achieve  results?  If you work in a research setting, it may well be.  When conducting research, asking “why” and not accepting things at face value is important.  But if you work in a manufacturing setting – asking “why” things are done in a specific way may be seen as less valuable (or even as a weakness) by your colleagues and boss than your drive to get the work done.

At the end of this process you will know precisely what others value about you!

CAUTION:
Keep in mind that the views of those you invite to participate will be colored by the work they do and what’s important to them.  So if you want to move into real estate development and out of construction work,  get input from people who are already IN real estate development.

If you get input from people who work in construction, what you’ll define is your value proposition within the construction market. And that knowledge won’t help you advance yourself in the real estate market.

You May be Surprised by WHAT Others Value in You!

But once you have their input, and that input has been validated, you will be clear and well equipped to communicate your value to others.

What Functions Will Your Value Proposition Fulfill?

You’ll find that people appreciate getting an up front summary (or headline statement) of what they can call on you for – and what they can expect to get when they do.

  • This is why your value proposition is important TO OTHERS
  • Your value proposition is important TO YOU because it gives you a framework that you can use to guide your present and future actions. Think of your value proposition as the headline of your success story!

Now go ahead and declare your value to the world!

executiveIf you are a financial professional whom people value because of your ability to communicate complicated data in a clear and understandable way, tell people that’s what you do!  Put your energy into doing that. And STOP doing what you think you need to do that was NOT identified as valuable by those who took part in your value proposition development process.


Have fun developing your value proposition!

It will take you to your “Sweet Spot.”  Keep working it to stay there!

And if you run into any problems, please contact us for clarification.

Is Your Authentic Personal Brand’s Value Proposition Attracting the People, Opportunities and Success You Want?

sweet-spotYour Value Proposition is the “Sweet Spot” of Your Authentic Personal Brand

What does that mean?

When your personal brand is well developed and fully authentic – its value proposition has the ability to effectively convey  “your appeal” as well as “the key value you provide” to the people and organizations that want what you’ve got.

Common Questions & Misconceptions

The questions I get asked most often about Authentic Personal Branding make it very clear that the concept of a “personal value proposition” is woefully misunderstood.

5 Top FAQs about Authentic Personal Branding

  1. “How can my brand fast track my success?”
  2. “Is my core value the same as my value proposition?”
  3. “How can my Authentic Personal Brand attract the business opportunities I want?”
  4. “How can my Authentic Personal Brand make my expertise and experience distinct and appealing?”
  5. “How can my Authentic Personal Brand get me top dollar?”

When I translate these question into “brandese” they all express one common need, which is:
“How can I develop the effective, compelling, authentic value proposition that will not only lead me to success, but keep me there?”

My initial response to people who ask  this question, is to ask them:

“How clear are you on the value you offer?”

Why do I ask that?

“Because in order to clearly communicate your value, you have to be
both clear and specific about what others value in you.”

  • Are you a strong natural leader who attracts followers easily? Are you comfortable with
    the responsibility of inspiring and directing others’ actions?
  • Are you an “out of the box thinker” who always comes up with fresh ideas and innovative strategies? Do you find it impossible to do things “just because” they’ve always been done?
  • Are you the insightful manager who turns “maverick lone rangers” into top performing business teams?  Can you turn “the power of one” into stellar team play?

To help you clearly communicate your value proposition, I’m going to
walk you through the exact four-step development process I created for
MIBOSO’s Authentic Personal Branding clients.

Use these four steps to zone in on the “sweet spot” of your Authentic Personal Brand
and craft a powerful, memorable, attractive and authentic value proposition.

Your Value Proposition is the “Headline” that Pulls Readers
into the “Full Story” of Your Authentic Personal Brand!

headline

But wait!  Before you begin to develop
your value proposition you must
put aside EVERYTHING you’ve
ever been taught about NOT blowing
your own horn.

Because even though an effective
value proposition is NOT ego-centric,
it DOES require you to “advertise”
the value you offer to the people and organizations who are “out shopping”
for the strengths, values, talents, ideals,
passions and experience that you (and
only you) possess.

“Advertise” Your Value!

In order for your “ad” to deliver a positive response with the “shoppers” who are looking for what you offer,  its  unique  appeal must convince them YOU are exactly what THEY’RE seeking.

Your Value Proposition is Brief and Believable

Your value proposition is a brief, believable statement. It tells the people who want, need and value what you’ve got, exactly WHY you’re the one they should choose.  What makes your claim believable? The evidence with which your Authentic Personal Brand backs up the claims made by your value proposition.

headline1Your Value Proposition Gets You Noticed!

Your value proposition acts like the news story headline that grabs readers’ attention by giving
them a sense of the value they’ll get out of reading the full story.

The strength, appeal and relevance of your value proposition is what makes readers:

a) Decide to take action, and contact you..

b) Think about taking action at a later date – and file your information

c) Drop your headline into the trash can and forget all about you.

Your Value Proposition is Engaging and Appealing

Your value proposition communicates in such an engaging, appealing way that those who are interested in what you’re offering  just HAVE to pursue you in order to get more of what your value proposition promised.  Now that they’ve had the taster, they’re keen to place their order.

Your Value Proposition Will Make Your Target Market Salivate!

So now that you know WHY your Authentic Personal Brand needs a value proposition, you can prepare yourself to start developing one that’s just as appealing and delectable as the little piece of “Ferrero Rocher heaven” in the photo above.  (This brand’s “Garden” variety white chocolate and coconut confections are my absolute favorite!)

In my next post, I’ll walk you through the 4-step process I use to build
value propositions for MIBOSO’s Authentic Personal Branding clients.

You may not want to make YOUR target market salivate, but you do want to fill them with the same sense of desire and positive anticipation that you feel when you anticipate digging into your favorite treat!

Beware “The Bermuda Triangle” of Authentic Personal Branding

bettys-bayOnce you’ve invested significant amounts of time, energy and money in exposing, expressing and expanding your Authentic Personal Brand, it’s  surprisingly easy to undo all your good work and destroy your brand.

Legends tell us of the sirens’ songs that seduced unwarned sailors to enter treacherous harbors where their ships were damaged or destroyed.

The temptation to enter dangerous branding waters can show up with an equally unexpected strength and allure.

But if you heed the siren’s call,  you risk destroying your Authentic Personal Brand in the place that I’m calling “The Bermuda Triangle” of Authentic Personal Branding.

How will you know when you’re drifting into these perilous waters?

Three Danger Signs Mark
“The Bermuda Triangle”
of Authentic Personal Branding

If you encounter any of these signs, conduct an assessment or “health check” on your personal brand immediately.  Then plot a course to get yourself out of that area, as quickly as possible.  If you can’t get out on your own, don’t hesitate to call for assistance.

arrogance1Danger Sign # 1: Arrogance

When you allow arrogance to influence your brand,
it will be marred by an offensive display of superiority, self-importance or overbearing pride.

Choose CONFIDENCE!  Not Arrogance.
Because if YOU don’t have faith in the value your brand represents, others won’t either.

While humility and modesty (the opposites of arrogance)  are not the sort of personal brand traits that people respond to negatively, they do block the effective promotion of a brand.
An overly humble or modest brand simply disappears into the shadows, and so tends to get overlooked by most.  Don’t let your brand be overlooked! Confidence is the middle ground between arrogance and humility. That’s where you want to keep your brand.

Arrogance will create BIG Responses!

  • It will heat people up, irritate them or make them angry
  • It WILL get their attention.
  • But it WON’T attract or keep a loyal following.

(And if it does, you definitely DON’T want those followers!)

Danger Sign #2: Hype

hype1When you succumb to the allure of hype and sensation,
your brand messages become riddled with questionable claims, deception, or trickery that artificially amplifies
your brand’s impact.

Choose AUTHENTICITY!  Not Hype.
Authenticity is hype’s polar opposite.  Authenticity builds trust.

It’s accurate to believe that you can make a LOT of impact with hype!

It will attract MEGA attention which may include national or international media coverage.

But the amount of effort that’s required to sustain hype’s fabrications over time causes
so much stress that the truth will inevitably emerge.

The truth will inevitably emerge.  When that happens:

  • Your brand’s authenticity will be destroyed
  • You will lose people’s trust
  • The tangle of half-truths you weave to try to “salvage”
    your brand will end up doing far more harm than good.


Danger Sign #3: Opinion

opinion1Once opinion has infiltrated your brand, you begin to present your beliefs or judgments as facts.  In truth, they are not based on provable facts, hard evidence or logic.

Choose EXPERTISE.  Not opinion.

While we all have opinions, expertise (opinion tempered by experience and fact),  has a far greater appeal and tremendous “staying power.”  Of course it takes a significant amount of time and effort to develop expertise.

Opinions cost nothing.  Because opinions have no value.

  • Because there’s such a glut of opinions available,
    they have absolutely no value as a commodity in trade.
  • When you present your opinions as expertise, you are opening
    yourself up for attack by those who DO have the expertise you are aping.
  • Your lack of expertise WILL be exposed – and your brand will be destroyed.

In our socially-networked and professionally linked in world, there’s nowhere for a
pretender to hide.  You will be exposed.  It’s not a matter of “if,” but “when.”

Protect your Authentic Personal Brand!

on-course1Keep it “ship shape” and “on course,”  (heading towards your vision).

Ignore the sirens’ song when you hear
them calling to you, because:

  • Your brand is your “gold.”
  • Your brand is your reputation.
  • Your brand is irreplaceable.