Thursday, March 3, 2011

Personal Branding Recipe


Although I enjoy baking, I would say that I need to build my knowledge base in the cooking arena. So, in order to do this, I’ve been on a mission recently to find quick and easy recipes. As I was thinking about this, I started to realize that you can draw a parallel between recipes and personal branding. Each recipe has ingredients and so does your personal brand.

Let’s talk for a minute about recipes. Being from Indiana, I am admittedly partial to chicken. It’s good, it’s easy, and you can make so many different dishes with it! In fact, just in the past several weeks, I’ve tried three different chicken recipes that I’ve truly enjoyed:
Sante Fe Chicken: This flavorful chicken dish features corn, tomatoes, black beans, and cilantro – this recipe is to be served over rice
Chicken and Rice: This tasty chicken dish is simple to make because it only requires mixing three cans of soup, celery, and rice with the chicken
Chicken Parisienne: This delicious chicken dish with mushrooms is creamy and served over rice

Ok, now many of you may be thinking….thanks for the recipes, but where are you going with this? Well, you can see that all three recipes have chicken, and all three have rice. Let’s refer to the chicken and rice as points of parity, meaning that each recipe has these two same ingredients. On the other hand, the ingredients such as corn, celery, and mushrooms are unique to each dish. They are indeed points of difference, or what makes each dish unique. If you are interested in serving a chicken dish with rice, any of these three dishes could work, but it’s the other ingredients that will likely drive your decision about which one you want to try (or which you want to try first) because those ingredients make the dishes stand out among the others; in fact, they make the dishes what they are.

This concept can be reapplied to your personal brand, so I encourage you to consider the following:
• What are your points of parity, or those skills, qualities, and factors that simply qualify you to compete in your field?
• What are your points of difference, or those skills, qualities, and factors that make you stand out over others?

Let’s say you believe a point of parity is your working knowledge of Microsoft PowerPoint and your point of difference is leadership. Ask yourself if other professionals in your field would have a similar working knowledge of Microsoft PowerPoint. The answer is probably yes. Now, ask yourself if others in your field could also say they are leaders. The answer is probably yes again…but where it becomes a point of difference is when you identify what ingredients of your leadership (i.e. your specific leadership stories) make that quality a point of difference for you. Of course, there will also be points of difference that are even more unique to you, like for example, you are a master gardener or earned a President’s Award at your company for your work on a particular project.

What is the recipe of your personal brand? I encourage you to think about and evaluate it because you want to be the cook that creates and marinates your brand. If not, your brand will be served to others without your involvement.

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