Today, if you don’t have a strong personal brand, you’re likely to have a mediocre career. That’s because strong brands stand out. Professionals who know this are able to attract the right kind of opportunities that will help them increase their success and happiness at work.
All strong personal brands exhibit the following non-negotiable three Cs: clarity, consistency, and constancy.
Does your personal brand pass the Three C Test? Let’s look at each C.
Strong brands are clear about what they are and what they are not. These professionals understand their unique promise of value. And this promise of value helps them stand out in a sea of competitors.
This differentiation allows them to attract and build loyalty among their ideal set of clients. Volvo, for example, is clear about their steadfast commitment to safety and security. After all, their tagline is “For Life.” They’re not about fast sports cars, or about exclusive luxury.
Volvo builds cars for families. Cars that are safe. And they clearly focus their advertising and marketing on this key differentiation.
The major retailer Nordstrom is clear about their unparalleled customer service. And their commitment to it is obvious from the moment you step into the store (and into their online shop). Nordstrom has mastered the art of separating itself from other retailers that sell similar items through their unique focus on customer happiness. There are myriad other retailers that can sell you a black Gucci suit, but you know that when you go to Nordstrom, you’ll have a delightful experience—one that will make you discuss it with your family and friends. This clarity and focus continues to guide Nordstrom as they build on their current business.
When it comes to your personal brand, you need to be clear about your promise. What sets you apart from everyone else who does what you? What would make someone choose you?
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In addition to being clear about who they are, strong brands are also consistent. They are always what they say they are. A strong brand doesn’t change its stripes.
Volvo is always about safety. They don't change their focus from model to model. When new editions come out each year, they are safe too. And Volvo highlights this in their advertisements and in all their communications.
One of the ways brands become strong is by demonstrating their unique traits over and over.
When it comes to your brand promise, do you deliver on it every day in everything you do? Do you put your stamp on meetings, emails, client interactions?
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Being clear and consistent is important, but not enough. In addition, strong brands are constantly visible and valuable to the people they seek to impact and influence. They don't go into hiding. They are always top of mind for decision makers, who regularly see not just the brand’s messages but also the brand traits in action.
Take Coca-Cola, for example. They have made the entire world their target audience. To them, the decision maker is YOU. That’s why you can't make it through a day without being exposed to their bright red logo. Billboards, vending machines, people holding Coke cans as they walk down the street, restaurant menus and print and TV advertisements all scream COKE.
Coke is a constant in our lives. And Coke is one of the world's strongest brands.
The good news for you is that your personal brand's target audience is a lot smaller than Coca-Cola’s. That makes it a lot easier (and, of course, a lot less expensive) for you to remain constantly in the purview of your brand community.
Have you defined your target audience? Are you always visible and delivering something valuable to them so you remain top of mind?
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In building and nurturing a strong personal brand, you have a lot more to think about than these three C's. But, no matter how much effort goes into the other necessary work to unearth and exude your personal brand, no brand is truly exceptional and effective if it doesn't pass this test.
How does your brand stack up?
This article was originally published in Forbes.