You and Your Company: Making the Corporate Brand / Personal Brand
By Brenda Bence
You may already
know that defining and
communicating your unique personal brand on the job is a powerful
way to further your career. But have you ever thought about the
connection between your personal brand and your company’s
brand? What role does that “connection” – or lack of a connection –
play in your career success? And how do you determine if your
personal brand is out of sync with your company’s brand?
Whether we’re talking about personal brands or corporate
brands, here’s a secret that the best marketers know: Great brands
don’t get to be great by accident! In fact, there is a
tried-and-true formula for building great brands, and it starts with
defining six core elements. These elements fit together like puzzle
pieces to define your personal brand or your company’s brand, and
they reflect what you want your firm – or “you” – to stand for. How
does your personal brand line up with your company’s brand in terms
of these six elements?
Who does your
company target as existing or potential customers for its products
or services? BMW targets wealthier customers than Toyota, for
example. Cuervo targets younger customers than Smirnoff. Just as
your company focuses on who it wants as its customers, your personal
brand should also be focused on the people at work who can most
impact your career and future. They make up your personal brand’s
meets the needs of its customers through its products or services.
It’s no different with your personal brand. Think about it: What
does your personal brand audience need from you, and how well
are you meeting those needs?
Competition/Comparison. Corporate branders need to know their
competitors well in order to understand why a customer would choose
their brand over another. Similarly, personal branders must know
something about the other people that their audience will compare
them to. Is there someone else who can better fill your personal
brand audience’s needs? That’s your personal brand “comparison.”
A corporate brand
must offer specific benefits to its target market, just like your
personal brand needs to communicate the unique strengths that set
you apart from others.
Reasons Why. A big name brand must have “reasons why” –
reasons that convince a company’s target market that the brand can
deliver the benefits it offers. Your personal brand has reasons why,
too – reasons your personal brand audience will believe you
can deliver the unique strengths you promise. What credibility do
you have, and why?
6) Brand Character.
brand – corporate or personal – has a personality or “character”
that makes it different from any other brand. Think about the
difference between Pepsi and Coke. The products contain almost the
same ingredients, but each brand has a unique character that has
been carefully created by marketers. And that character is what
helps you choose one soda over the other. Your personal brand
character does the same for “you.”
Personal Brand with Your Company’s Brand:
If you apply the above framework to both your company’s brand and
your personal brand, do they connect well with one another? Is your
company’s target market of interest to you, and are they the kind of
people you enjoy pleasing? Are you passionate about working to fill
the needs of that market?
Everyone who works for a company is a marketer for
that company. You represent the firm whether or not you deal
directly with customers or perform direct sales as a part of your
job. The bottom line? To be successful on the job, you need to have
a connection with the company’s brand, character, and
mission. Your personal brand definition needs to “fit” like a glove
with the corporate brand definition.
Let’s take Anna as an example. She had worked for 15 years as
a corporate executive for a multinational airline, a job which had
given her opportunities to travel and live all around the world. She
had been very happy there until a few years ago when she began to
feel uncomfortable in her job. She realized she was no longer
content and passionate about the company, and she couldn’t figure
When Anna sat down and defined both her personal brand and
the airline’s corporate brand, she discovered that the two brands
were out of sync. Her personal brand character hadn’t changed over
the years, but the company’s brand character had changed – as
a result of “9/11.” Before those fateful events, the company had
been a friendly place to work. But after September 11, 2001, the
company had implemented many new policies and changes that resulted
in a less friendly work environment.
After evaluating her own personal brand character and the
changed brand character of the airline, Anna realized that there was
a disconnect now where there wasn’t before. This helped her make
better sense of her existing situation and helped her develop a plan
of action for better short-term and long-term career success.
When you sit back
and look at the six elements of both your company’s brand and your
personal brand – side by side – what do you find? How strong is the
connection? If it’s strong, you probably feel great about your job
and enjoy your work. If the connection is less than strong, what
elements are disjointed? What could you do to make a stronger bond
between your own individual brand and the company’s brand?
The bottom line
is: Your short- and long-term career success – as well as your
overall job satisfaction – depend on having a strong corporate
brand/personal brand connection. Do you?
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