Wowza! I had the privilege of speaking at the Rady School of Management for the University of California, San Diego last week and I loved the energy of these students. Even better, I liked their questions about branding. Don’t forget: you can ask me your branding questions too; fire away!
How do I combine my internal brand with my external brand? I often feel that I’m presenting 2 different people. Help!
You must have ONE brand, the authentic brand; you can’t be one way at home and another way at school or work; it means you’re hiding the real you!
Whether due to confidence or cultural issues, now’s the time to tackle your branding problem. Start by identifying the “what” you’re now showing the world: Is it your inner creative genius? Your funky sense of humor? Or, your silly side?
It’s possible to weave all of your traits into your brand DNA through your emails, postings, and real-time communication. To be a great brand, people must fall in love with you…and yes, some folks won’t like you; but that’s just fine.
How and when did you realize that you were good at branding?
Here’s the deal: when I was growing up, I thought I was untalented and uncreative: I couldn’t sing, dance, or draw – all of the requirements in my mind, to be branded “creative.” BUT, I finally figured out that I don’t think like everyone else; my thinking was my strength! That revelation led me to leave Quaker Oats and start my own biz; today, I wear what I want (who would wear boots?), say what I want (did I just use the word crap?), and love my clients. All in all, I’m grateful for my lovely life.
How do you get started with a career in branding?
The first step is getting hired and without any experience, you must create relevant experience. Quaker Oats, for example, only hires from the top 10 business schools, and needless to say, I didn’t graduate from one of those! (Go Terrapins!).
So, I created an entire portfolio demonstrating how managing a line of books at Times Mirror Publishing was just like managing a brand. It worked!
If you’re still in school or shifting jobs, you need to solve a branding problem for a target company. Do the research, gather the data, and make insightful recommendations. It doesn’t matter whether they adopt any of your solutions (welcome to the world of brand consulting!), the point is to demonstrate your strategic thinking. Good luck!