What Can Coca Cola Teach You About Branding Yourself?

personal-branding We all want to be valued in our workplace, but how do we achieve that? Most of us toil away hoping that our efforts will somehow be noticed by our bosses and the rest of the world. By being reactive instead of proactive, we leave our sense of self-worth in the hands of others with their own priorities and concerns.  No matter what field, position or level of experience, we can all take a page from corporate business and implement a personal branding plan for ourselves.

What is personal branding? Management expert, Tom Peters, who is generally credited with coining the term,defined it thus: “We are CEOs of our own companies:  Me, Inc.  To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.’”  Take a recognizable brand, Coca Cola, for example.  It has worldwide visibility –  from its logo, to its containers, to its taste .  In 1886, when pharmacist Dr. John S. Pemberton first invented his headache tonic of cocaine extracts and caffeine-rich kola nuts, there were already other sodas, primarily root beers, and ginger ales, on the market. What made his product distinct was its color and taste.  Still it wasn’t enough to make the company a success. It took Coke’s second owner, Asa Candler, using aggressive marketing and independent bottlers, to make the company profitable.

How do you make “Me, Inc.” a success?  First have a clear vision of what makes you different from your colleagues; what are your strengths and weaknesses; and what are your career goals.  Once this is clear, you can better “market” yourself to others.  Coca Cola uses massive advertising campaigns to present their company’s vision.  Advertising “Me, Inc.” involves pursuing activities that will enhance your skills in some way.  Being active in a professional association, teaching a class, or starting a blog – every opportunity that gets your name out to a wider audience elevates the perceived value of your brand.

In the early days, Coca Cola’s owners knew that its product value would depend largely on consumer word of mouth.  This is still essential to the personal branding process.  Every contact can be an advocate for your brand, so it is important to maintain and foster relationships with current colleagues, just as it is to cultivate new ones.   As your reputation grows so do your opportunities in the marketplace, and some may come from that very network. The personal branding process, by its very nature, makes you a stronger candidate for any new employment opportunities they may send your way.  Having full command of your unique qualities, strengths/weaknesses and career goals gives you the self-confidence to verbalize them during interviews. Your resume becomes an extension of your overall presentation, and should be amended to reflect a dynamic marketing brochure, rather than a static employment history.  If you can view personal branding as self-promotion without self-absorption, then the process can open many more doors to personal enrichment and professional growth.

Centra believes that personal branding is an important part of the employment process.  We will help you find the right setting for your unique talents and skills.  Call a team member at 800 575 0076 and let us show you how to capitalize on your assets.

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