Noting that most people are marketers to some extent, author of popular marketing books, Seth Godin (Purple Cow, The Big Moo, All Marketers Are Liars), does not believe marketing without story is possible: “Either you’re going to tell stories that move people, or you will become irrelevant,”Â he writes. Organizational storytelling expert Steve Denning similarly notes that “narrative is increasingly recognized as central in branding,”Â and when he refers to a “storied product,”Â he could just as easily be referencing a job-seeker as a non-human product.
Getting your brand story out there raises your visibility and builds your aura as an attractive candidate for hire. Symbiotically, elevating the world’s awareness of you creates new opportunities for networking. Increasingly, in the Information Age, success can spring not just from who you know, but also from who knows you and your story.
“Personal branding is about differentiation,”Â writes William Arruda, founding partner and president of the Reach Branding Club. “It’s about using what makes you outstanding to stand out from the myriad others who offer seemingly similar services. There are numerous others who compete for the same jobs and clients. Personal branding helps you stand head and shoulders above the competition by highlighting your unique promise of value.”Â
Your Story-Supported Branding Statement
An effective way to begin your personal-branding effort is to develop a branding statement “Â just a few sentences, a paragraph that sums up your value proposition. This element will guide your subsequent branding activities and can be used in such media as your resume, Web site, or blog. In their book Brand Yourself, David Andrusia and Rick Haskins present a simple formula for a branding statement: Skills + Personality/Passion + Market needs = Branding Statement. It’s a great formula, but you can enhance it further with one or more stories that support your statement. You can also compose stories that will help you develop your branding statement.
Why should your branding statement generate and be supported by a story? Hilicki makes a strong argument: “When you build your brand identity on your true experiences, you will bring to the world the only thing that no one else can. Your true story conveys your unique value and is the “strongest foundation of your brand identity,”Â Hilicki contends.