I met Lori Martinek in 2008 when she generously came to Minnesota to speak at a conference I was planning on the topic of entrepreneurship and small business branding. It’s not often you meet someone as skilled and authentic as Lori. She is equally savvy and warm, and frankly, she knows her stuff. When it comes to branding, she is a leader in the field – and I must say, her advice for branding businesses is universally applicable to individuals.
Recently, Lori blogged on her website with “Branding for Economic Development.” What does this mean, exactly? Lori tells us that truly strategic branding for businesses can actually create strong economic communities. “That’s what makes it work. You are making an investment in the future of your community, your county or your region.“
The same rules apply for personal branding. A great personal brand extends beyond the pages of your resume and into your community, your county and potentially beyond. Lori’s theory here turns branding on end. Branding, in this economic development lens, becomes less about you and your brand and more about what it can do for the world around you. I love this piece of advice she gives:
Base your brand strategy on benefits, not attributes. Branding is the promise of doing business with you … or visiting your community … or bringing a business there. Always focus on the benefit to the prospect. This is all about them, not you;
When you’re writing a cover letter or a resume, when you’re preparing for a networking event or a pitch meeting, repeat that sentence over and over again. “Branding is the promise of doing business with you.” Why should that company hire you? What do you truly bring to the table with your brand that no one else can? What promises are you making that you can guarantee you’ll never break? These questions and more will make your brand more powerful, more global, more economically sound, and will certainly boost both your business and the investment you’re making in your community.