Branded employees aren’t just recognised, they’re coveted and courted by companies worldwide. Be confident of your own brand.
Power of brand identity
Look at Apple Incorporated. You tend to agree that they have a powerful brand identity.
What if one day, a new ‘Steve Jobs’ reinvents the iPhone and calls it the iPear? The iPear not only costs as much as the iPhone, it has identical features. What makes it special is its ability to project holographic images of whoever you’re talking to right from your phone screen. Imagine being able to see a holographic version of your friend every time you call them. That’s a game changer.
Technically any product can be replicated and improved upon. Humans, on the other hand, cannot. Even if you were cloned, take different life paths, and that in itself would differentiate you – rarer than rare gems and equipped with powerful brand identities.
Now, all that’s left to do is to find your edge, hone it, and market it well to succeed.
Your competitive advantage – your differentiation
Competitive advantage is your winning edge. But your competitive advantage isn’t just about having natural-born talents. Employers also look for that X factor or special ‘something’ that they can’t put their finger on.
· Your unique element, facet or point of view
· Driven, passionate or ambitious
· Your motivation at work
· Your value-add
If you have trouble answering them, think of praises that bosses have sung for you in the past. It may help to jot them down. E.g. I go the extra mile. I finish the job no matter what. If I don’t know something, I would get down and dirty to learn how… etc.
Hone your competitive advantage
Once you’ve identified your edge, be honest with yourself. How good are you at your craft?
Geniuses are bred. They spend a lot of time honing their craft – 10,000 hours to be exact. And that’s only the minimum time it takes for one to be considered ‘good’.
Reach this 10,000-hour mark.
Market your brand
People become smarter, faster and stronger in this world.
Your competitive edge.
Articulate it in person, on paper and even digitally on the web.
Practice saying it, writing it down, revise it until it buys your confidence.
Then, use these tools to market your brand:
1. Résumé and cover letter
Litter your résumé and cover letter with keywords that match your brand. The look-and-feel should also reflect how you wish to be perceived.
Your portfolio is proof of your professional worth, so make it consistent with your brand. If you want to be seen as a “creative” graphic designer, then only show your most emotionally-jarring pieces.
3. Email address
Your email address is your official channel of communication, so it must sound professional. If you have a common name, add your designation or city rather than random words and numbers. E.g. email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
4. LinkedIn and Facebook
If you have an online persona, make sure it’s not a wild version of yourself. Always assume a friend of a friend would see your page, and that person could be the CEO of your dream company.
Your attire should be in line with the work you’re in. Originality is key but do not to go overboard. What you’re aiming for is to look the part you’re playing.
6. Face and body language
90% of your communication is non-verbal. So, be mindful of how you present yourself.
1. Stand tall with your shoulders rolled back and head faced forward
2. Keep a wide stance, feet apart rather than too close together
3. Communicate with your hands and palms facing out
4. Speak in your lower register
5. Give automatic eye contact
6. Smile often
People perceive you from the way you speak.
Choose your words, tone of voice, and volume.
Do not talk too loudly in a quiet office.
Nor do carry a condescending tone.
Remember, you’re a walking, talking brand and you want people to feel good around you.
Live your brand
Walk your talk.
Deliver the goods, the most important part of your brand.
After all, you’re not putting on an act. You are simply being the best version of yourself professionally.
Suresh Shah, Pathfinders Enterprise