Self-branding lessons from Adidas
Learning from lifestyle brands
We live in a world dominated by brands. A good example of a company with excellent branding is Adidas. I recently participated in the Female Future Force day in Berlin, and they had a spot / booth there, featuring a mirror with a prominently placed claim “You do you”. How cool is that? I remember colorful ads in Hong Kong, featuring a bunch of ethnically Chinese girls all clad in sportswear and having fun with their friends. Or female rapper Missy Elliott completely dressed in Adidas.
How about getting inspired by Adidas (or any other successful lifestye and sports brand)? And crafting your very own brand - you?
Consider this: You might make more money as a result of it! Why? Because potential employers will come to perceive you as an expert, as an individual who is able to think outside of the box. Where do you position your brand? On platforms such as Xing (in Germany), LinkedIn, by writing your own blog articles on platforms such as Medium, or advocating your cause on Facebook... the sky is the limit.
Think about how you would like to be seen
In her publication “Reinventing you. Define your brand. Imagine your future” (2013), Dorie Clark suggests:
“Why not take the time to think about how you’d like to be seen in the world and then work strategically to accomplish that, rather than waiting for life to happen to you?”.
Changing your self-narrative (and brand) has an added benefit: you craft a convincing story of who you are and end up believing it yourself. Clara likes to remind me that the likelihood of achieving one's goals is 43% when you write them down. Defining your personal brand will help you turn it into a reality.
Expert advice for self-branding
Without further ado, this is what Dorie Clark recommends:
- Identify your ultimate destination – what do you want to accomplish with self-branding? Get the dream job? Start your own business? Become an influencer?
- Use your unique profile to your advantage – don’t try to fit in, make your profile stand out! I recently came across an Instagram profile that is called “25 under 25” – a young American woman who had done 25 different jobs before she hit 25 – now that is unique!
- Come up with a narrative – what is your story? Self-narrating helps you to stick to your goals and market your brand.
- Position yourself – what do you want recruiters to see when they perform an internet search on you? For example, I recently changed the picture and banner in my LinkedIn profile to make it look more dynamitic and creative – because this is part of my virtual Caroline brand. How do you describe yourself online? Are you a self-starter, a talented writer, an efficient project manager?
- Prove your worth – when you self-brand, make a name for yourself – online. Write articles on your own blog or www.medium.com (I do!), comment on videos you like, etc … give people a chance to discover what you are all about.
My top picks on self-branding:
- Clark, Dorie (2013). Reinventing you. Define your brand. Imagine your future. Boston, Harvard Business Review Press
- Hyder, Shama, “7 Things You Can Do To Build An Awesome Personal Brand”. URL: http://www.forbes.com/sites/shamahyder/2014/08/18/7-things-you-can-do-to-build-an-awesome-personal-brand/2/#337a44ff61cc
- Johnson, Whitney (2012). Dare, dream, do. Remarkable things happen when you dare to dream. Brookline, Bibliomotion.
Written by Caroline-Lucie Ulbrich
Finelles Founder. Coach and organizational consultant (ECB, Deutsche Bank and UBS).