The last of a three-part series on building an avant-garde personal brand.
If you’ve been on this branding journey with me, you know we’ve covered a lot of ground when considering important elements of a solid, avant-garde personal brand. Of all the takeaways, I hope you most remember the importance of authenticity. For your brand to work, it must represent the real you.
In the final post in the series, we’ll tie everything together with a memorable tagline.
When you think of famous brands, most all of them have a tagline that you can recite from memory. Here are some examples that come quickly to my mind:
- Nike – Just do it.
- Kentucky Fried Chicken – Finger Lickin’ Good.
- California Milk Processor Board – Got Milk?
- Bounty – The quicker picker-upper.
- American Express – Don’t leave home without it.
- BMW – The Ultimate Driving Machine
- Campbell’s Soup – M’m! M’m! Good!
- Charmin – Please don’t squeeze the Charmin.
- Wendy’s – Where’s the beef?
- Rice Krispies – Snap! Crackle! Pop!
- Lay’s – Betcha can’t eat just one.
- Maxwell House – Good to the last drop.
- M&Ms – The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.
- Timex – It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.
If you were to think of yourself as a brand, what would your tagline be? Consider your unique qualities that I covered in the first post, as well as your authentic character traits and mission from the last post as you draft a few possibilities.
A Tagline Represents the Total Package
As you can see from the examples above, in just a few words an unforgettable tagline captures the ultimate benefit you offer. If you were going to bundle your value add in a single tagline, what would you offer? A personal tagline communicates how you help.
Example: “I’m the guy to call when you’re tired of thinking small.®” This is the tagline for Michael Port, who is a NY Times best-selling author and business coach to executives such as the former president of Starbucks. He explained that this tagline came to him after he realized he’d been saying it over and over when talking to people about what he does and what’s important to him.
What have you been saying over and over to describe the potential impact you can make?
In her post Introduce Yourself with a Personal Tagline, Laura Upcott writes that you should think of your tagline as one simple sentence that allows people to define you on your terms. Not your job title, but your job. What do you do when you’re doing your work? What’s difficult and important about what you do, what change do you make, what do you do that’s hard to live without and worth paying for?
Consider Superman’s tagline: I conquer super villains and make the world a safer place.
Here are a few more examples:
Social Media Expert: I build Facebook pages to help companies engage with their customers.
App Developer: I write mobile apps that solve everyday problems.
Receptionist: I change the people who stop at my desk, from visitors to guests.
Your tagline lets others know what it’s like to be around you. It says something about who you are at your core, and it’s the essence of what you want to achieve or experience in the world.
While I’ve been writing this series, I’ve been considering my own brand and how I can strengthen it. My background is in corporate communications, change management, and public affairs. My “job” has been helping shape what people think about certain subjects. After taking my own advice, I’m adding the following tagline to my social media profiles and resumes.
Sheila Callaham: I leverage the power of words to influence stakeholders and shape perception.
Take Time to Test and Evaluate Your Brand
The only way to evaluate the success of your new brand strategy is to give it time. If you are experiencing an increase in relevant opportunities, then you’re on the right track! Use your tagline every chance you get and evaluate the response you get from people. Then tweak it, as needed, until your words bring just the right response from those on the receiving end.
How do you know for sure? That question is answered in a recent Forbes article, Ten Signs Your Personal Brand Isn’t Working, by Fortune 500 Human Resources Vice President, Liz Ryan. She sums it up beautifully, so I don’t have to!
Unlike a product brand that, when done right, lives on forever, a personal brand can evolve as needed. If your career changes, your tagline may only take a tweak or two. However, if you jump into a new and different profession, your personal brand may require a complete overhaul and rebuilding. The good news is that you’ll know if your brand is apropos. If not, you’ll also know exactly what to do to make it right.
Here’s to your successful branding!
Sheila Callaham is an author, motivational coach, and longtime communications and change management professional. Sheila leverages the power of words to influence stakeholders and shape perceptions.