As an undergrad, I had the opportunity to be advised by a marketing professional with an education from Harvard and a million dollars to show for it. I’d sit in his office and tell him my dreams. “I want to be a marketing mogul… a lawyer… a politician… a multimedia journalist… an author…” the list literally goes on. In my conversations with my advisor, he really put into perspective for me that though I had what it took to take all of those career paths, I simply couldn’t be everything to everyone. My dream to be a New York Times bestselling author who also litigates by day and runs a marketing firm, popular podcast, two businesses, and a household by night was quickly reevaluated.
This life lesson goes hand in hand with branding yourself. While in college, we want to live out all of our dreams at once. While this is possible, let’s take the time to think about how the outcome could have been for me. Had I dedicated all of my energy to 100 things, how many of those things would I have actually been successful at promoting? When it comes to telling your story, you need one consistent narrative. Too often brands try to be everything to everyone. THIS. WILL. NOT. WORK. You have to identify your best strengths and narrow down what you want to really put your energy into.
Let’s look at established brands. Charmin specializes in soft and affordable tissue. Charmin also has wipes as an item on their product line. This is a good fit. Two products that get you “Charmin” clean, right? Let’s say the great people at Charmin headquarters also had a passion for food so they decided to sell frozen dinners. What is the story here? Who is Charmin? Do they keep you clean or keep your stomach full? We would be confused.
This is exactly how building your personal brand works. Who are you? That is the question you have to answer. No one wants a long drawn out story about how you’re an engineer by day and a workout enthusiast, a dog whisperer and an aspiring professional wrestler by night. When someone goes on your instagram feed and sees a photo of you bench pressing two golden retrievers, it takes the “umph” away from your story. You simply can’t brand yourself that way and expect to see positive results.
Who are you? That is the question you have to answer. – @bossgalkiki
So, how can you get positive results? Stick to what you know and grow! It’s that simple. In fact, let’s repeat it. Stick to what you know and grow. What are you an “expert” in? One of my close friends is a great cook and creates healthy dishes. With some consulting help from me, she is now starting her brand as a food photographer with a cookbook on the way and even cooking videos. She took her love for photography and paired it with her love for healthy cooking. That sounds like a successful brand that can go nowhere but up!
Of course I’m not saying that you have to limit yourself. You can be a bench pressing dog whisperer with a career in engineering if that’s what you want to do. What I am saying though, is that your brand will thrive when you keep a consistent and complimentary story at the forefront. Find your true passions, create a career blueprint, and tell your story! As always, you can thank me later.