In the business school, one important lesson I have learned is to build my own brand. In the marketing term, it is called positioning.
Ask yourself, when people talk about you, what is the first thing jumping into their mind?
Me myself, I am a-28 year-old Asian who was born and grew up in Taipei, Taiwan. I spent three year studying abroad in Minnesota and in Maryland. I am a son, a brother, a Maryland MBA graduate, an 2014 alumni, a basketball player, a runner, a blogger, a marketer, a photographer, a traveler, a competitor, a leader, a teammate…etc. I am also a self-motivated, a self-initiated, and a passionate person.
Any one of the terminologies above represents part of me as a brand, but nobody can ever remember me as a complex brand as I just describe myself. So, I need to make it clear and concise as I possible can. But how?
Now close your eyes for a minute. Imagine if you are a consumer product, say a soft drink, what is your brand? How much does it cost? Premium? Average? Cheap? What’s product differentiation? Energy boosting? Sugar free? No caffeine? What’s your package? Green? Red? Yellow? The clearer you can demonstrate your brand the better you can position yourself.
I know you probably don’t want to be a soft drink product. So now think about those who earn a great success in their life, that’s say professional athlete, what do they have in common? A clear positioning. They dedicate all their effort into one thing and strive to make it better than anyone else. They are remembered for their profession, skillset, and personal characters, and combining them together that make a strong brand. When you mention Michael Jordan, you think about the greatest basketball player, Air Jordan, and multiple championship, and that’s his brand.
Of course the majority of us will probably never achieve such status in life, but spending time thinking about what you want to position yourself in your company and even in life can be extremely beneficial. It will not only help you to better realize yourself but also help others to recognize you as well.
One book I found worth reading in b-school is: Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, written by Al Ries and Jack Trout. It helps me to better clarify the concept of positioning and also provides many real case studies to provoke thinking.