Now that you have defined your persona and promise through our first two posts on personal branding, it’s time to put them together into your brand story. This is a short pitch of one to three sentences that communicates your value and your promise to a target audience.
How to Create your Brand Story
The key to developing a great brand story is having an end goal in mind. Do you want to expand your expertise in a specific skillset, find a new job, get a promotion or connect with a potential client? Once you know your end goal, you’ll be able to answer the questions below to develop your brand story.
Who is your target audience or ideal client base?
This is the main person or people who rely on your services and who you want to know your value. This could be your boss or supervisor, someone in a specific market or industry or even a work colleague.
Once you have a target audience in mind, think about the main problem they face and what challenges you can address for them. For example, if a potential client expresses dissatisfaction working with geoprofessionals due to past experiences of missed deadlines or maintaining staff throughout a project, your brand story should highlight your projects that meet or exceeded deadlines and how your company has lower turnover than the national average.
What value do you bring that is unique to you?
List the key attributes you defined in creating your persona that would be of value to your target audience, using one to two words for each attribute.
What distinguishes your work from others?
Define a promise or two that you can achieve for your target audience by applying your unique value using simple, active sentences that start with “I offer …” or “I approach …” or “I can …”
Brand Story Examples
Let’s take a look at my brand story as an example.
My Audience: Being fairly new to my career, my audience is everyone I meet because I am still developing my brand and reputation, but most importantly it’s my internal colleagues at GeoEngineers because I work closest with them.
My Persona: I am passionate, enthusiastic, creative, results-oriented, open minded, positive and reliable.
My Promise: I offer a fresh perspective on existing projects. I approach each map as a challenge to create something beautiful. I provide a fun, collaborative approach to my work.
My Brand Story: Our engineers and scientists at GeoEngineers can rely on me to help them visualize and communicate project data through colorful maps. The positivity I bring to any assignment comes from my enthusiasm and passion for cartography, and my fun, approachable work style.
Now let’s take a look at the brand story my GeoEngineers’ colleague Tonya Kauhi put together for herself.
My Audience: As a senior GIS analyst someone further along in my career, my target audience is potential clients.
My Persona: I am a dedicated, innovative, organized and reliable team player who loves to be challenged.
My Promise: Unlike other GIS Architects, I put business needs first and technology second. Finding better ways to improve business workflows motivates me, and I do not mind tackling routine tasks if they support the overall improvement of business processes.
My Brand Story: I am a GIS Architect with a passion for helping my clients improve their business processes and do their job more efficiently. I provide value by truly understanding their business needs and implementing the best solution for those needs. I recently helped an international mining company standardize environmental data management workflows, create standard operating procedures and consolidate disparate water quality data into a centralized system. This project improved the client’s data access time from months to minutes.
Promoting Your Personal Brand
It may necessary to create two or even three brand stories based on your target audience. Once you developed your brand story, practice it and be prepared to share it in a conversation.
It’s also important to find ways to promote your brand story. The best way to do this is by developing brand advocates, people who might describe you to someone else in your company or to your clients. These could be the same people as those in your target audience, or people who have influence on those in your target audience.
If you’re just starting your career like me, some ways to develop brand advocates include:
- Attend or volunteer at conferences
- Join a local meet-up group
- Participate in company functions so your co-workers can get to know you
If you’re further along in your career like Tonya, some ways to develop brand advocates include:
- Present or moderate conference sessions, or offer to co-present with a client
- Volunteer with an organization that can benefit from your skills
- Host a local meet-up group and lead the meeting
We hope you’ve found our three-part series on personal branding for geoprofessionals helpful. If you want more, you can find other examples of personal brand stories and ideas for promotion in our workbook Mapping your Unique Value: a Roadmap to Personal Branding (PDF – 565KB) that Tonya and I put together along with our co-presenter Amber Raynsford of The Watershed Company for a recent workshop at the 2014 Washington GIS Conference hosted by the Washington State Chapter of The Urban & Regional Information Systems Association (WAURISA). You can also see our slides from the workshop.
If you want to hear about this topic in person, Tonya is presenting on it this month at GeCo in the Rockies 2014.