This week, my students are working on their Visual Resumes. One key piece of this visual resume is an identifying statement that helps them differentiate themselves from their competition. A helpful way to do this is to create a brand mantra.
Chiara Ojeda introduced me to “The First Step To Building A Personal Brand” by Megan Marrs a few years ago. Marrs says that to create a brand mantra, a person should determine their emotional appeal; determine a description; and determine a function before putting it all together (Source). For example, Forbes wrote a piece on a legendary fashion icon and designer called “Coco Chanel: Personal Branding Legend.” Author Simon Graj lists four traits that defined Chanel’s brand. Read them here.
My students struggle with this idea of a brand mantra because they’re students – not yet professionals – and don’t have all of those answers to the big picture questions at this stage. So today, I began looking for other articles to help them define their brand mantra.
First, I found an article in The New Yorker called “The Person versus Personal Branding: You Are What You Tweet.” This insightful piece explains that we can learn personal branding tips from Facebook by “managing your presentation—your behavior, appearance, reputation, online persona—to stand out in your professional and personal lives” (Source). Now this can be difficult for college students with Twitter streams ranting about an ex-boyfriend or Facebook pictures from last weekend’s kegger. What I liked about the article was that The New Yorker gives us ways we can strive for WOW-ness. Our social media, our online presence, everything we do should seek to WOW others – in a strong, professional, positive way. To get that WOW-ness, the article teaches us, we can consider what we wear, how we shake hands, how your home looks, what charities we give back to, and others (Source). Though it may sound superficial, the point is “you must collapse your personal and professional life into static, pixel-perfect unity […] Your entire personal life now factors into your employability. Your livelihood increasingly depends on being likeable and well-documented, and just like a branded product, your basic worth is assessed by the WOW-ness of its image” (Source). What you post on Facebook, on Twitter, online anywhere is a forever-captured single snapshot in the big movie of who you are… and if your professional persona doesn’t align with your social media persona, your personal brand is in trouble. I tell my students this, and they say “I know,” yet they don’t live by this advice as evidenced by their social media pages and profiles.
More practically, I found “Personal Branding For Dummies,” which proved perfect for sharing with my class this week. This piece contained the building blocks for communicating a personal brand; how to create a promise of value; and how to reach your target market along with tips on how to spread brand awareness of your newly-created mantra online.
What great resources would you share with someone trying to create his or her brand mantra?