Your Who Am I Brand Story
Last week we looked at how one of Australia’s leading companies ignited the passion of its team by participating in a creating your personal brand story workshop
Today we will go even deeper by looking at establishing your Who Am I Brand Story. Professional brand stories can help you identify fundamental dimensions of your work life. What is your professional role? Your contribution? Why are you doing what you are doing? What are your strengths? How have you leveraged them?
A professional brand story offers insight into values that you could jot down in a simple, self-descriptive list. Maybe you call yourself ethical, innovative, loyal and supportive of your colleagues. The story adds substance, texture and clarity to those values, with the potential to be vivid and memorable. Sometimes the story has a single defining moment, but often the story involves a journey. It may have to do with career choices, a mentor’s guidance and / or lessons learned from successes or failures
My first ever ‘real’ job was working for The Original Juice Co. My brief was very clear. “Pick up ten new accounts each and every day.” As I was naïve this seemed a reasonable request. As I reflect it could easily fit into my ‘tenacity’ story repertoire. Don’t just list the attribute. Choose a story to bring it to life.
Why did you choose your career or join your organization? What motivated or inspired you? Is there a story that reflects your rationale – and your excitement about the decision?
My first ever job at CUB was in response to the following brief: “we need to prove we are agile and not a dinosaur…and we need a beer out in the marketplace in less than 90 days.” Now this could have been a story about how a project team brought Pure Blonde to the marketplace in 76 days. I see it as a story of how a CEO had the courage to back a team and focus on the process “launch a beer in less than 90 days” than the dollars “don’t care if we only sell 2000 case, just want to prove we as an organization can do it”. This vision gave the project team the gift of not fearing failure.
My favourite corporate story came when a new Fosters CEO gave me the permission to bring a Marketing Capability program to life. “We don’t have a budget for this, but you can hire a ‘gun’ to assist with the development. I ‘poached’ Tim Ovadia and together with a great team we launched & implemented globally ‘FAME’ – Fosters Achieving Marketing Excellence. It is still the highlight for many of us involved.
Reflect on your success stories, or other enjoyable times in your career. Too often, they become lost in the jumble of daily life. Yet they can say much about your strengths and skills – and can thwart the temptation to view your life and job as boring and inconsequential. What were the successes about? What motivated your program or initiatives? How were they developed and carried out? What worked and what didn’t? What were the outcomes?
Stories of success can demonstrate your accomplishments and breadth, perhaps illuminating talents you hadn’t realized were there. Together, these “I can do that” moments show your skills aren’t as narrow as your current job might imply – and that you are capable of much more.
Failure stories can provide insights as well as learning opportunities. What was your most significant failure? How did it happen? What lessons did you learn from it? How did it make you a better professional? Was a personal weakness involved? If so, how might that weakness be lessened, neutralized or removed? Such stories make the lesson more visible and more tangible.
Reflecting on your “Who am I” brand stories can be healthy because they provide a realistic assessment of who you are as a person and where you are in your career. They also reduce a tendency to underplay your organizational role and achievements. Finally, these stories allow you to relive your experiences at some level, and to savor them. Without these stories, the savoring is all too short-lived.