What do people think of, when they think of you? Do you know what they think of you? Or… an even bigger question… Do you like what they think of you?

No matter who you are, or what you do for a living, being your own personal brand is very important. People quite often get stuck in a role, and that role becomes their brand. It becomes the association that people make when they think of you. Let’s list a few examples…

Michelle Obama, First Lady

Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter

Kirstie Alley, Weight Watchers

In my case, it was Carolyn Stern, a high school teacher. People didn’t think of me as a businesswoman with creative abilities, yet that is what I truly wanted to be. So how do we break the mould? How do we be the brand we want to be? In this episode of Carolyn Talks, I tell you my personal story and 3 tips on how to be your own brand (BYOB).

Video Transcription

Hey, it’s Carolyn Stern and you’re watching Carolyn Talks, the channel to watch if you want to get unstuck, maximize your potential and achieve more. Today I want to talk about branding and I first want to start by dispelling some myths, what branding is not. A brand is not a logo.

A brand is not a product or a service and it’s certainly not an identity.

What a brand is, is a person’s gut feeling. When they think of that product or service, what do they think about?

Take Starbucks for instance. When you think of Starbucks, yes, you think it’s a coffee company, but what else do you think of? You think of those cozy chairs and sofas and people watching.

That’s their brand. That’s what they’re known for. Today I want to talk about what do you want to be known for? How do you be your own brand? I want to first start by telling you a story.

About 15 years ago I was a high school teacher and I wanted to get into advertising. I sent my resume out to 120 different companies, marketing firms, graphic design, PR, communication firms and what did I receive? Zero interviews.

Even though I had had four degrees at that time and 10 years of business experience in marketing and advertising I had been a high school teacher for five years. That’s all that people saw me as. They didn’t see that I could be creative. What did I do? I figured if I wanted to show people I could be creative, I needed to do something creative. I hired one of my high school students who happened to be really great at graphic design. He helped me create a CD of my resume.

Basically, it was the same content as my hard copy resume, but this time it had professional photos taken of me and photos of my portfolio that people could click on and it was interactive. Sent it to the same 120 companies and guess what? I got 60 interviews and I landed myself a job that doubled my income.

What are the three steps that helped me do this? What are the three steps I used to create my own brand?

Well, number one, differentiate. If you want to be different, you need to do differently. You need to stand out amongst the clutter.

Number two, collaborate. When you’re making a movie you need a lot of people. The same holds true when building your brand. If you need a graphic designer, hire one.

Number three, circulate. Once you’ve built your beautiful brand you need to share it with the world. Now that’s a lot easier nowadays with Facebook and YouTube.

In my case, I sent my CD out to 120 companies via express post because I wanted to stand out from the crowd. There you have it, how to be your own brand. Number one, differentiate. Number two, collaborate. Three, circulate.

Now I’d love to hear from you. What do you want your brand to be?

Sometimes the best discussions happen after the episode, so please leave a comment below. If you need a little extra inspiration, remember this golden nugget and I’ll see you at the next Carolyn Talks.