The Oxford English Dictionary describes differentiation as, ‘The act of distinguishing or describing a thing, by giving its different, or specific difference, exact definition or determination.’
“People who learn to think of themselves as a brand tend to be more self aware than those who don’t,” comments Tessa, “and it’s self awareness coupled with a congruent personal brand image as well as the ability to do the job, that is helping people around the world to get, keep and scale the career ladder, even in a recession.”
It’s a fact in life that people buy other people, in much the same way as we buy a product or service. We all have a choice and we make emotional decisions to buy based on how much we think we will benefit and the experience of the buying process. So, how do you think you come across? What do you think your personal brand is accurately projecting about you?
TEN TIPS FOR DIFFERENTIATING YOURSELF
- Think about your trademark or public image. Are you a good communicator? Do you continuously try to make the best of what you’ve got? What do you think are your greatest assets? What do you hope people find memorable about you?
- To establish rapport quickly in interviews and in new client interactions you need to match peoples’ expectations. Most employers are looking for someone to solve a problem or meet a requirement. It’s never just to make up numbers! Try and assess what your intended employers needs are and think how you can present yourself as the preferred solution.
- Always, always be true to yourself. People see more about you than you realise through the softer skills you display. There is little point in trying to be someone you’re not – you wouldn’t last long in the job! Be what you promise – better to under-promise then over-deliver. Be the kind of person you would like to attract into your working life and cultivate consistency and respect.
- Always be professional in all elements of your professional communications. Dress ‘up’ for the job you want not the job you’ve got. Seek advice if you’re not sure how to achieve an up to date professional look with a few capsule wardrobe pieces that really work for you. Ensure you make smart choices with garments that suit your size, shape and colouring. Dress your personality, appropriately. Don’t be a fashion victim. Think quality every time.
- Bring back the traditional handshake I say! Check out yours with friends to see what your handshake actually says about you! Remember to smile naturally, maintain a healthy and respectful level of eye contact and make the effort to say hello to people at your place of work – you’ll make friends and influence people with open, warm communication.
- You may want to be recognised as ‘special’ and as an expert in whatever field you are in. Work on building your reputation as a ‘can do’ person not someone who is flaky, doesn’t deliver, misses deadlines or is haphazard. Quality attracts esteem and respect.
- Remember to make your achievements known to key decision makers. Have a ‘Project-Action-Result’ report on work you’ve done. People who keep their heads down and work hard may still be passed over for promotion if they’re not noticed. (People who work like this often feel resentful and that’s rarely charismatic or healthy). Ensure your personal brand and ‘behind your back’ reputational image is watertight. It’s hard to re-build a tarnished personal brand and we often don’t get a second chance.
- Work on your on-line brand to make sure it’s always positive and accurate about you. Employers and recruiters often ‘google’ candidates these days! Be fastidious with your reputation! Never leave caustic comments about anyone or anything on someone else’s site, or put up inappropriate photographs of yourself.
- People respond well when small details are remembered about them. Make it part of your personal brand communications style policy to be adhere to this type of detail.
- Make it personal. Inject your personality into all that you do. Mind your manners and brush up on your etiquette skills. It is important to be courteous, respectful, punctual and grateful.
“Investing in differentiation strategies will pay off in the long run,” comments Tessa. “When we become more self-aware and show esteem for ourselves and for others, you’re like a people magnet. Once you are clear what your USP is (your unique selling point), i.e. who you are, what your offer is and your promise of value to an organisation, you can stay more naturally ‘on brand’ whatever the situation is that you want to achieve. Knowing how to differentiate yourself using verbal and non-verbal communication skills and being the kind of person who values themselves makes you attractive and charismatic to others. And if that person happens to be a recruiter or your boss, walking the walk and talking the talk is essential.”