Andris Pone is a Branding Strategist in Toronto and he co-wrote a great book, Brand: It Ain’t the Logo. We had a conversation on the Brand Foundation and how I could use it to build and grow my business. Andris had put the concept of branding so beautifully that I fell in love with branding and marketing all over again. What I like about the branding foundation is how I could borrow the concept and apply it to the process of career management.
You would have to read the book to see how the branding foundation is used in marketing and business. However, for my purpose, I used the foundation in developing and creating a personal or professional brand. Needless to say that when I did my presentation last Thursday*, I could not resist promising the audience that I would share with them the branding foundation as applied and related to reinventing themselves and their careers.
1. Core Purpose – In business, core purpose is the reason why it exists. For your career, it is the reason why you do what you do. However, more than that, it is what you do to fulfill your life purpose. You probably do not see your work that way but everything you do put together tells a story of who you are and what you are meant to do in this world. It sounds big but you feel that what you do is so small. As Mother Teresa said, “There are no great things; only small things done with great love”.
2. Vision – This is where you are going and how you will know you are there. The exercise of visioning your “future self” is helpful here. In a meditative pose in a quiet setting, do the relaxation exercise and project yourself into the future as far as twenty years ahead. With your eyes closed, have a clear picture of where you are, the sight, the sound, the smell, the texture, the colour of your surroundings. Where are you? Who is there with you? What are you doing then? Your future self will tell you how you got there.
3. Mission – What you do every day to get to your future self is your mission. This is how you serve the world. If what you do aligns with your core purpose and seems like it is going to get you to the place of your future self, then it is perfect. However, it does not always happen that way. You might find yourself doing something else that does not relate at all with what you would want to be or with what you think you are meant to do. If this happens, you need to do some realigning.
4. Values – Describing your values is not an easy process. It goes deeper than defining what is important for you. What principles do you live by? What do you strongly believe in? What brings you alive? What brings out your raw and strong emotions? Unless you are an introspective person who keeps track of your personal experiences through time and has previously named some of your personal values, you will have to watch yourself over time to identify what you truly believe in and what your values are.
5. Position – How are you different? Your position is your unique offering to the world. This is how people identify you and that makes you stand out. How you position yourself depends on the four foundations described above and that you have identified for yourself. Knowing your vision and your core purpose, your daily actions would reflect your values and demonstrate how you serve the world. In the process, you are communicating your brand to the world. This is how you are positioning yourself.
6. Character – This is how you act and how you communicate your essence to the world. This is how you describe yourself and how others describe you. These are the external manifestations of your values and the means by which you carry out your mission. This is how you deal with the world every day. The best way to know how you come across to the world is to do the Johari window exercise. However, this is another topic for another day…
I will continue to explore this subject matter in my future presentations, writings, and blogs, so follow me.
*Reinventing You: A Career Management Approach – a presentation delivered to the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) BurloakBay Chapter in Oakville, Ontario – October 21, 2010