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Branding...Is It For You?

Branding...Is It For You?

The term of "branding" has been around for a while - especially in the marketing world. We know that branding isn't just for ranchers and cowboys anymore. The Circle K ranch branded their cattle for ownership identification. Likewise, large companies established brands over the years for name recognition, products, and services. It might be the name of the company or product such as AT&T, 3M's Scotch Magic Tape™ or Kleenex® by Kimberly-Clark. When we see the golden arches, we think McDonald's. Target doesn't have to use its name in an advertisement, the company logo does the talking.

Now, the job seeker can also use a marketing approach for self-branding. Why? Building a great brand for yourself can be a beneficial competitive advantage. It tells the employer how you can be an asset and it sets you apart from the competition. A brand is a promise that helps employers make choices in who they choose to hire.

The idea of self-branding is a newer concept. Self-branding requires self-awareness and a thorough understanding of who you are. Doing your homework to establish a solid foundation of "you" will help you maximize yourself as the asset. "You" as the single most important ingredient in your success. Yes, it is all about you. What can you do for an employer, the consumer or potential clients?

In her book, U R a Brand, Catherine Kaputa defines a self-brand, "A person represents a skill set. A selfbrand represents a Big Idea, a belief system, that other people find special and relevant. Self-branding is more than your name, identity, and image. It is everything you do to differentiate and market yourself, such as your messages, self-presentation, and marketing tactics.

Without competition, we would not need branding. In today's workplace and job market, knowing how to stand out, be recognized, be visible, be selected are part of the self-branding strategy. When you walk down the toy isle at a store and you see a sea of pink, you know what doll Mattel is promoting. Do you remember hearing the TV ad with the music of Sting's "Desert Rose" enticing us to get behind the wheel of a Jaguar or Bob Seger singing the durability of the Chevrolet truck, "Like a Rock." These are all examples of successful branding and you can do it too.

Creating a Self-Brand

Self-awareness and commitment to who you really are. In order to have a self-brand it is important to know thyself.

What are your strengths? What makes you unique?

Be compelling. What is needed? What is your major benefit? Can you fill a niche, a void or build a better mousetrap? How will your benefit help the employer?

Be clear and concise. Words matter. Keep it simple but use powerful language. Be able to present your self-brand in words, written and spoken. Appeal to the senses.

Deliver on your promise. Defend the reputation you have created.

Maximize the fact that you are the asset, the single most important ingredient in your success.

Brand yourself for success and turn an ordinary career or business into an extraordinary one!


Barbara Wulf is a certified career/life coach and speaker who helps individuals redesign their career paths by supporting and inspiring them to stretch, seek, and achieve life/work success. Barbara holds a master's degree in counseling, is a global career development facilitator, is certified by The Coaches Training Institute and is an adjunct faculty member at Concordia University, St. Paul, MN. Barbara offers career assessments along with resume/cover letter writing and interviewing strategies for impact.

Sign up for her monthly e-zine, OWN IT, WORK IT, LIVE IT at or call 920-725-2930.

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