Focusing your personal brand for a specific audience

Focusing your personal brand for a specific audience

A Focused Personal Brand

I am amazed how few women, even executives, can say who they are, what they do, giving examples to demonstrate the value created for their company, financially and otherwise. And yet we all know, understanding why something is working or not, is critical to business success.

 Fortunately, we can overcome this tendency if we have a good reason.

Good reasons

• Being noticed

• Negotiating a pay rise

• Getting funding for a project

• Making a case for promotion

• Handling an interview well

• Feeling good about yourself

• Giving a powerful presentation

• First impressions

to name but a few!

That’s why I think it is essential to consciously address this limitation. To help my clients give a powerful account of themselves I have come up with the Focused Personal Brand!

Your message

When you want to influence people, which is most of the time, you need to know

where you are coming from and why. Do this and your message has an authentic ring

that engages your audience. You also want to deliver your message in a way that speaks to the desires of the listener. The Focused Personal Brand is a structure for authentically bringing together, all the aspects of the argument you want to present, filtered through your knowledge of what is important to your audience. The benefit is a more balanced and informative conversation for both parties.

How it works

Let me talk you through the Focused Personal Brand we produced for a property professional who wanted to apply for partnership in her firm. 

The Focused Personal Brand is the second stage in a process, which began with my client understanding and owning who she is, her Intuitive Personal Brand*, an affirming and energising experience of self recognition using my own set of images to trigger a memorable conversation about why she is important. The result is a headline that engenders instant empowerment. Her Intuititive Personal Brand was:

A well informed negotiator fascinated by people's stories, cutting through complexity to offer creative and tactical solutions. See video below

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The power of 'getting' who she can't help being, generated by this exercise ,is tangible and feeds into the authenticity of the message she wants to impart.

Building a Focused Personal Brand

To come across well this 'would be partner' needed to focus the energy of her intutive personal brand into clear messaging for the interview panel. To do so she needed to consider her audience and their concerns in greater depth.

The Structure of The Focused Personal Brand

Mind Map.png

The mind map above was a powerful visual reminder of the key considerations in a thought through format that instantly prompt appropriate responses she could rely on under pressure.

The Intutive Personal Brand

The cards she chose and the accompanying brand statement, provided the energy and sense of authenticity that fed into her interview decisions. Unless this was central she wouldn't have come across credibly. Women especially, find it difficult to feel aligned in an interview situation, so this approach can really help.

The audience

The next step was considering the audience, in this case the senior management of the company. As she knew beforehand who they would be she could do some homework on their interests and concerns. These were listed in the mind map, shaping her responses.

The story

The story sets the context. It explains why she is there pitching for partnership. If she has a clear and conscious graps of the why, it is easier to feild questions. In this case it was because her boss had seen her potential and encouraged her in her ambition to become a Central London expert. Being consciously aware of this helped her not to undermine herself with self doubt.

To guide her in her approach to the interview, as well as knowing who she is, My client needed to have a story about herself that gave a glimpse of her genius. She was concerned about comments colleagues had made about her lack of gravitas suggesting that perhaps she wasn't ready to become a partner. Her anxiety about being judged as too young was getting in the way of thinking calmly about what she brings and what difference it makes. 

"Getting' that she is a knowledgeable negotiator who understands the bigger picture helped her own her strategic ambition to become  a central london expert. 

Who I am

The branch referring to who she was reminded her of the facts about what she could provide for the firm, backing up any general statement she wanted to make about her contribution. Each aspect was underlined by a prepared example which best illustrated the difference she had made. this is often left to chance, which can lead to rambling on unconvincingly. A good example needs to contain as breifly as possible, what happened what you did about it and the results you got. if you can include numbers and perntages so much the better.

What I do 

Everyone has a USP and she was no exception. Essentially hers was to be able to come up with original, cost effective solutions, under pressure! This way of describing it captured what she knew to be true about her but in a way that would speak to that audience. This encapsulation when carefully thoiughthrough should challenge the interviewees to give good reasons why they don't want you on board!

Tailor made

Every Focused Personal Brand is different.  It might have more than 5 sections. It can include things like great responses to questions you dread, or technical questions, or refer to your thoughts on a current controversial company issue in the news. The Focused Brand is a composite of the process described above - your interview strategy informed by your own identity and ideas.

The impact

The conversation that created my client’s Focused Personal Brand, made her consciously think about who she is, the value she provides and what fit this may be with the company in question. At the end of this process she was able to see the interview as just a conversation between herself and the company. Both had boxes to tick, they had questions for her about how she could contribute and as a unique contributor, she had questions for them about what they expected and how they could satisfy her need for new challenges.

 

 

Each section of the structure provides the key massages you want to give in this specific set of circumstances. Although she is the same person in different interviews, each conversation is different because everything occurs within the context of that particular conversation. Each interview is conducted by different people, from a different company, with a different history and a different set of of unfolding circumstances. The Focused Brand helps capture your interview strategy appropriate to this situation now, providing an elegant crib sheet that is easy to remember and, in every question and response, confirms who you are, giving you more confidence and greater impact.

The story

To guide her in her approach to the interview, as well as knowing who she is, My client needed to have a story about herself that gave a glimpse of her genius. She was concerned about comments colleagues had made about her lack of gravitas suggesting that perhaps she wasn't ready to become a partner. Her anxiety about being judged as too young was getting in the way of thinking calmly about what she brings and what difference it makes. 

"Getting' that she is a knowledgeable negotiator who understands the bigger picture helped her own her strategic ambition to become  a central london expert. 

As we worked through the questions she thought they would ask and should be interested in and considered the questions that were important to her she began to feel grounded and in control. The Focused Personal Brand structure had an authentic ring for her so she was quite happy to talk about it in these terms!

Why me?

This is about what only you can contribute. This may or may not have been of interest to the company but ultimately, it had to be real for her so she could communicate it convincingly. Again she drew on who she was, creating a list of bullet points on her structure that would trigger appropriate answers to their questions. In outlining her abilities, she reminded herself of appropriate examples of her contributions, explaining both the soft and hard value she provided. The preparation for presenting her own qualities also required her to do some homework on the interviewers, the company and the market place. She was then in a position to give the information she realised they would be interested in.

Company concerns

This refers to the need to balance the conversation by asking the interviewer/s to help her understand what the company thought she might be able to contribute when they expressed an interest. We women often forget that interviews are a conversation, not just a one sided box ticking activity. You are exploring the fit from both sides so each will have pertinent questions to ask and be answered.

The bigger picture

This is about being able to demonstrate and use your understanding of the firm’s bigger picture. Here my client had a perfect opportunity to showcase her knowledge by commenting on the company's strategy in the market place, discussing trends and asking pertinent questions.

Your questions

This was a reminder of the need ask and have your questions answered: Start dates, salary, leadership team, expectations, what made them want to interview you, how do they see you fitting in, is this a new role etc. My client had questions about how they saw her role developing in the future.

Tailor made

Every Focused Personal Brand is different.  It might have more than 5 sections. It can include things like great responses to questions you dread, or technical questions, or refer to your thoughts on a current controversial company issue in the news. The Focused Brand is a composite of the process described above - your interview strategy informed by your own identity and ideas, in the format pictured below.

The impact

The conversation that created my client’s Focused Personal Brand, made her consciously think about who she is, the value she provides and what fit this may be with the company in question. At the end of this process she was able to see the interview as just a conversation between herself and the company. Both had boxes to tick, they had questions for her about how she could contribute and as a unique contributor, she had questions for them about what they expected and how they could satisfy her need for new challenges.

*To find out more about Intuitive Personal Brands: https://joella-

bruckshaw.squarespace.com/config#/pages/514adc70e4b04d7440eabbb4|/blog/ 

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