Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden recently joined up with Ferrara Candy’s Trolli brand, adding to his portfolio of 10 endorsement partners. As one of the NBA’s highest-paid players both on and off the court, he is clearly a sought-after athlete and spokesperson. Trolli’s advertising tagline is “Weirdly Awesome,” and it fits Harden. He has one of the league’s most famous beards, and he’s know for his unique style. Harden himself could be described as weirdly awesome.
This is part of his personal brand, and we all have one. When I say “Coca-Cola” or “Nike” or “NASCAR,” you think of distinct words, images, feelings, and experiences. Whether those brands agree with them or not, that’s what their brand embodies to you as a consumer. They can control the perception of their brand through marketing and promotions, but ultimately the “brand” itself is in the eye of the consumer. The same is true with our own personal brands, but many of us do not do enough to control our brand’s messages. When entering the job, it is import to evaluate your personal brand.
Like James Harden embodies the weird awesomeness of Trolli candy, what do you embody? How do you communicate this to recruiters, interviewers, and colleagues? The easiest way to convey your brand is to update your LinkedIn profile and tailor it to show your accomplishments and passions. Customizing your professional headline and summary are easy ways to say, “this is who I am, this is what I stand for, and this is what I want.” Other social media accounts like Instagram and Twitter also display your personal brand. Posting pictures from your vacations shows that you like to travel. Retweeting content from National Geographic and Conde Nast Traveler further reinforce that in others’ minds.
It may, however, be difficult to pinpoint your personal brand during a career transition. If you invested so much time into your previous position, it may be difficult to define who you are now and what you want going forward. There are several online tests you can use to find out what is important to you and what your strengths are beyond just your topical interests. The US VALS™ Survey results in primary and secondary VALS types explaining your dominant approach to life and a particular emphasis you give to your dominant approach. The Life Values Inventory can help you identify your core values and provide strategies for you to flourish given your values.
A good example of a journey of personal brand discovery comes from this podcast by Terry O’Reilly. In this episode of his series “Under the Influence,” he explores how UFC fighter Geroges St. Pierre re-branded himself (with the help of Sid Lee) to shed his vicious, blood-thirsty image and project a more polished persona. Although not all of us have the help of an agency with extensive resources, O’Reilly provides a step-by-step guide to putting your personal brand online for recruiters to see.