Written by Jenny Okonkwo
As professionals we are all empowered (and perhaps constrained!) by adherence to our core personal values. Of course the transition into an independent consultant provides an opportunity to fully embed those values into personal branding. But in truth all of us as interview candidates face much the same challenge.
In an economy where there are too many people chasing too few opportunities, we all recognize and understand the importance of an elevator pitch, 30 second infomercials, engaging social media, etc.
To a degree, crafting a set of words for a personal brand statement may be the easy part. The real challenge is ensuring that our actions reflect the messaging.
What do I mean by this?
In order to acquire high value, long-term consulting engagements, I needed to establish a vision match with like-minded business problem owners. I wanted to emphasise change, action, energy so it was no accident that I named my business ‘Transform Consulting’ with a strapline of ‘minimizing financial risk to maximize commercial opportunity’.
Here’s the background:
1. ‘Transform’: this came from being recognized as a Specialist in creating ‘something from ‘nothing’, significantly improving existing departments or processes to meet business goals and objectives. Examples are: (i) the creation and staffing of a Global Project Office, to reduce risk and regain financial control of a $multi-million systems initiative (ii) Producing 8 years of fully reconciled, audit-ready financial statements for a Tax Voluntary Disclosure business client, from just several shoeboxes of random manual receipts.
2. ‘Consulting’: my problem solving approach is widely acknowledged as being of a consultative nature. Put simply, no single person ever has all the answers. Where stakeholder input is shared and a consensus reached, a more robust, permanent solution is achieved overall (e.g. the implementation of an Email Marketing Solution as part of an overall e-CRM strategy for a leading insurance firm)
3. ‘Minimizing financial risk’: As an expert in Finance Process Improvement in both large and small companies, people know me for the ability to quickly detect and squeeze out waste, duplication of effort and inefficiencies. This has resulted in significant cost savings for my clients (improving customer invoicing accuracy for a market leader in Business Aviation)
4. ‘Maximizing commercial opportunity’. By re-engineering of critical day to day processes, I have helped companies free up back office capacity to provide greater support to the front office e.g. Sales and Marketing. This leads to people development and role expansion in exploring and analyzing new ways to grow the business (e.g. transforming a team of ‘number crunchers’ to ‘decision catalysts’ for a global brewer)
So there it is. Think of all those examples of compelling, dependable, trusted and well-known brands we know, love and respect. Why? They all have one thing in common. Strong brand equity created from the fact that they do what they say and stand by what they do.
Here are some tips for creating your Personal Brand Statement:
1. For each attribute you choose to mention, be confident you can back it up when asked to elaborate
2. The words should convey the passion in what you do, as well as the skills and expertise
3. Think of well-known brands that resonate with you and ask yourself why
4. Use the thought process from Point 3 to help you craft your own message
5. Think ‘quality’not ‘quantity’. Overly long brand statements will be difficult for others to remember
6. Ensure your branding message is consistent across all Social Media platforms
7. Test the accuracy of your message by asking for feedback from your network
8. As the nature of your business or career changes, check that your brand message remains on target
9. The brand statement should reflect your personality
So…the question is: how connected are you to your personal brand statement? What’s your view? Do you agree with the above points? What other tips and advice would you give?
Your comments are welcomed!