Ditch The Top 10 Lists + Start
Building Your Brand
Bethany Waggoner
Social Media Manager, Riley Weiss
Portland State Unive...
Disclaimers
≠No Top 10 lists (obviously!)
≠No advice on scamming your way to the top
What is a Brand?
A brand is not…
A logo
A color scheme
An advertisement
So what is a brand?
A brand is your promise
It’s the expectations people have of
you.
Every single decision you make
impacts it
Your brand is
Who You Are
What You Do
And The Impact You Make
Who You Are
These don’t count
≠Gender
≠Ethnicity
≠Nationality
≠Hair color
≠Sexual Preference
A Brand Starts With Values
What Do You Value Most?
What Are You About?
Integrity
Sustainabilit
y
Social Justice
Activity!
Values
Tenacity
Honesty
Wonder
Exploration
Loyalty
Equity
Innovation
Adaptability
Accuracy
Resolve
Justice
Service
Mindful...
Show + Tell
These core values should be a filter for
every decision made + action taken.
If it doesn’t pass, you’re probably not
being true to yourself + could be
damaging your brand
For instance…
Rebuttle
What You Do
Mulligans—Not advisable
Scoring Your Dream Job
What’s Your Impact?
Parting Advice
It’s not just who you know, but what
they think of you.
You have 2 seconds
First Impressions v. Last
Impressions
Ditch The Top 10 Lists
Evolve
Questions?
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Ditch The Top 10 Lists + Start Building Your Brand

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Presentation given to Portland State University's chapter of the American Marketing Association on November 10, 2010. Topic is on building a brand that reflects your strengths and values as an individual, and allows you to go after opportunities with more confidence and success.

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  • First disclaimer: Don’t expect to hear any Top 10 Steps To Create A Killer Personal Brand + Score Your Dream Job next week!

    Plenty of words and speeches have been spent on this topic. You can do a quick Google search if that’s what you want.

    I want to drill down further and get into to foundations. Success in your life and career is about consistently staying true to who you are and leveraging your strengths to do good work that matters.

    Second disclaimer: I don’t recommend constructing a persona or building some façade to scam your way into a job. Keeping it real is a much better way to go. I promise it’s so much more effective than pretending to be someone you’re not and creating this expectation that you won’t live up to.
  • Now that the disclaimers are out of the way, let’s move on to definitions. What is a brand? It can be confusing. If you Google the word brand you’ll get 20 different results on the first page alone. So let’s talk it out.
  • We should probably start with what a brand is not. Like the disclaimers, let’s just get these out of the way.
  • What do you all think? Anybody care to volunteer an answer?
  • At Riley Weiss, the company I work for, we believe that a brand is a promise.
  • Every decision you make impacts it and your reputation is built on it.
  • We approach branding from the viewpoint that your brand promise is made up of three things:
  • Who you are
  • , what you do
  • , why it matters—why YOU matter.

  • That framework can be applied to people as well as businesses and organization. So we’ll use it tonight.
  • At least not for our purposes today. None of these really tell us who you are, they just create stereotypes.

    If you take me as an example, filling out this survey wouldn’t tell you that I’m a huge Raphael Saddiq fan, that I score major points with every boyfriend I’ve ever had because Iove movies where things get blown up, or that volleyball was my life until 23.

    So what else is there?
  • That’s where we start. Getting down to basics.
  • Again, using myself as an example. These are my three core values as a person. Our President Doug likes to call me a do-gooder and I am. When you look at this, it’s not hard to see why.

    Mess with any of these three + you’ll have one fiesty woman on your hands. Support them and I’m all about it.
  • We’re going to jump into an activity that will give you a tool to use going forward.

    I want you take the notecard you were given when you came in and draw a triangle on it. We’re using an equilateral triangle, because it’s the strongest shape in nature and we’re going to use it to build a values triad tonight.

    I’m going to give you about 7 minutes give or take to take a first stab at drilling down into the three things that are most important to you.

    Keep in mind that these are values not attributes. It’s a subtle difference, but we’re looking at the values your attributes are rooted in, not the attributes themselves.
  • Things like, Honesty, Exploration, Loyalty. So here’s some inspiration to give you all some direction on this.

    But really think about this and get past these exact words on the screen and into the words that best reflect you.

    And this doesn’t be a solitary activity either. Especially if you’re having some trouble narrowing down 3 values or just coming up with the spot on representations of you—feel free to talk amongst yourselves and use your neighbor’s brainpower to your advantage.
  • These are some of your collogues triads. Really good work!.
  • But we’re not done with these yet. What I want you to do with these when you leave here is to run everything you’ve got going on in your life through this filter.

    Your 3 values things should motivate every decision + actions. That goes for what’s already in place and for the future. This is a decision making tool that can serve you very well. And it can evolve with you as you grow further into adulthood.

    If you run an opportunity through them and it fits go for it and know that you can stand by it if confronted with adversity and defend your decision.
  • If you’re feeling a bit wah-wah about it when you weigh a choice up against these principles, then you’d probably be better served by opting out. It’s probably not something that stays true to who you are.
  • So I thought I should give you an example of how going against your brand promise and your core values can be damaging. And the best one I could think right now is Lebron James. There are many people, in Cleveland especially, that feel betrayed him. And while he’s still immensely popular, he’s alienated what used to be his most loyal fans and lost many of them for good. And while not totally destructive, that’s damaging for him. So we’re going to watch the Still I Rise video and then Clevelands response.
  • So we know Lebron’s stance on his decision. He feels like he was entitled to make it. But I wonder if he really weighed whether it stayed true to his values. Or maybe even whether he falsely represented those values set unreal expectations and that’s why it hurt the people of Clevland so much. So let’s watch Cleveland’s response to Lebron breaking his promise to bring a championship home to Cleveland.
  • From that video we can draw the lesson that What you do matters—but only if you give your actions context.

    Other athletes can easily leave Cleveland with little fuss. But not Lebron. He mattered. And he made promises, which he did break.

    Context—or lack there of—is why those Top 10 Things To Do If You Want To Get Hired—articles are totally useless. If you want to be a doctor, you have to work very hard in school, get good scores, excel through rigerous training, perform well, be predictable, controlled and steady.

    On the other hand, if you want to be a film maker, you need to be inconsistent in many ways. You have to experiment, push boundaries, break rules just to find out what happens, give up control and create work that is constantly fresh and unexpected. The actions or tactics needed to succeed are totally different, because the paths are totally different.
  • But Since this isn’t about day dreaming your life away, what do you do? What actions do you take to figure out your foundations and begin honing in on a brand?

    The biggest one is to create your filter and then use it—religiously. Every time. Because EVERY SINGLE THING you do makes an impact on your brand and on your chances of doing good work that matters.

    The common thread between the doctors and artists example I gave, is being true to yourself, and fulfilling expectations by doing what you say you will. Be somebody that keeps your promises. Whether that mean you put a heavy dose of feistiness into everything you touch or you’re the rock that comes through in the clutch for your team. If you keep your “promises” your brand will thrive. If you don’t, it breaks down trust.

    Every “mulligan” you take is a hit to your reputation. So you have to weigh the consequences each time you make a decision, every time you consider an opportunity, every time you go for something you really want.
  • This is probably what most of you are here for. It’ You’re close to graduation and you wanna score your dream job. That’s freaking great. Unfortunately I can’t tell you exactly what you need to do to get it. Every boss and organization are different + looking for different things. What I can tell you is that you’d better have purpose behind your passion and that thinking strategically rather than tactically is going to get you a lot further in your pursuit.
  • I’ve only got one slide for it, but this is the really important question. It’s the one you must have a confidant, assured answer for.

    Why do you and the things you’re doing matter?

    Are you curing cancer? Are you a brainstorming prodigy? Are you a problem solver that always finds a way to get things done?

    If you can’t show the positive impact you can make at a company/on the world, it will be hard for anyone to get excited about you. You have to understand + be able to use your talent.

    We say that if design that doesn’t create solutions..cool doesn’t count. The same goes for people. Be a person who serves a purpose and can execute their role.
  • You’ve heard a lot of people say, it’s not what you know, but who you know. Which is kind of half true. You might know all the right people, but if you’ve cultivate a negative reputation, it’s not going to help you much in a job search.

    You have to make—to throw in some snazzy industry jargon— on brand decisions. You have to emanate the culture, beliefs and values that resonate with the people who can extend the kind of opportunities you’re looking for.

    And I want to make it really clear, that The end game isn’t to make manipulate somebody into believing in you for your own personal gain, it’s about being that person because the work, the dream, the purpose behind it matters to you.

    If you’re looking to use people to get to the top or feel like you can’t be yourself to get where you want to go, then either you need to do serious some work on yourself as a person before approaching them or you’re looking at the wrong organization in terms of fit, or.

    Again, Being able to present a distinct, genuine picture of how you fit into a work culture and the value you provide an organization—That’s how you get your dream job. You have to live it.

    You need skill too, but skill alone doesn’t cut it anymore. Plenty of people have skill. And not to be all unicorns and glitter, but what you really you need is some damn sparkle.
  • Be prepared. You don’t switch a brand on and off like a light. In Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, he says you have 2 seconds before most people have made a decision about you. Lots of things factor into that assessment—body language, eye contact, personal style. And confidence. So Don’t waste it. It’s all the open doorway you may get.
  • Your first 2 seconds gets you in the door, but every subsequent contact builds your reputation. Remember, your brand is not a façade, it is YOU. 24/7. If you’re faking it, that’s not a brand, it’s a scam.

    The other thing is that It’s also likely that the most remembered impression of you will either be the last or the one where you crashed and burned. Obviously we want to avoid the crash + burn scenario. So you have to constantly working to meet or exceed expectations so that you’re remembered for the right reasons.

    PS a little hustle never hurt anyone. And a lot of hustle usually opens doors pretty quickly.
  • I know I’m really hammering this one, but it’s for your own good! It’s hard—they’re an easy way to feel like you’re being productive and on top of things. It’s just that most Top 10 lists are not going to do much for you. At best, they might expose you to a one or two useful tactics. You know, having contact cards printed + having them on you at all times. That’s cool. But the stuff that really matters—the stuff that makes a contact KEEP your card for future reference—isn’t on these lists. It’s your values, attributes, actions and impact. So please, do me a favor. Stop wasting your time reading Top 10 Lists from Guy Kawasaki and spend it working on those things instead!
  • To finish up, remember that evolution is going to happen. Your first years out of school are not the end all be all in terms of your career path, but they are important. Don’t be afraid to Make bold decisions. They won’t all be good ones, but that’s life. If you’re smart you’ll learn from mistakes and make course corrections along the way.

    A brand is a living thing. It isn’t static. You can’t build it tomorrow and then stop working on it. Your brand will evolve as the world changes and you grow and learn—and that’s a good thing, so embrace it.
  • Ditch The Top 10 Lists + Start Building Your Brand

    1. 1. Ditch The Top 10 Lists + Start Building Your Brand Bethany Waggoner Social Media Manager, Riley Weiss Portland State University American Marketing Association 11.10.10
    2. 2. Disclaimers ≠No Top 10 lists (obviously!) ≠No advice on scamming your way to the top
    3. 3. What is a Brand?
    4. 4. A brand is not…
    5. 5. A logo
    6. 6. A color scheme
    7. 7. An advertisement
    8. 8. So what is a brand?
    9. 9. A brand is your promise
    10. 10. It’s the expectations people have of you.
    11. 11. Every single decision you make impacts it
    12. 12. Your brand is
    13. 13. Who You Are
    14. 14. What You Do
    15. 15. And The Impact You Make
    16. 16. Who You Are
    17. 17. These don’t count ≠Gender ≠Ethnicity ≠Nationality ≠Hair color ≠Sexual Preference
    18. 18. A Brand Starts With Values
    19. 19. What Do You Value Most?
    20. 20. What Are You About?
    21. 21. Integrity Sustainabilit y Social Justice
    22. 22. Activity!
    23. 23. Values Tenacity Honesty Wonder Exploration Loyalty Equity Innovation Adaptability Accuracy Resolve Justice Service Mindfulness Accountability Timeliness Commitment
    24. 24. Show + Tell
    25. 25. These core values should be a filter for every decision made + action taken.
    26. 26. If it doesn’t pass, you’re probably not being true to yourself + could be damaging your brand
    27. 27. For instance…
    28. 28. Rebuttle
    29. 29. What You Do
    30. 30. Mulligans—Not advisable
    31. 31. Scoring Your Dream Job
    32. 32. What’s Your Impact?
    33. 33. Parting Advice
    34. 34. It’s not just who you know, but what they think of you.
    35. 35. You have 2 seconds
    36. 36. First Impressions v. Last Impressions
    37. 37. Ditch The Top 10 Lists
    38. 38. Evolve
    39. 39. Questions?

    ×