Creating Your Brand

Brenda McDermott, CPCU, CLP, SCLA, CIIP, SCLA, ARM, AIDA, AIC

Think about brands. Businesses and products have brands to help differentiate themselves from their competitors. Some products’ brands become synonymous with the product itself. Think: Band-Aid. A brand is how your products, vision and content are perceived by others. A brand not only differentiates you, but it also helps attract your target market.

Your personal brand, like a company brand, is what differentiates you from your competition. It answers the question, what do you want to be known for? Your personal brand is the combination of your skills, your values, and the impression you leave on others. Having a personal brand can give you power over your professional development and career.

To develop your personal brand, you need to know who you are, what you enjoy and what you are good at. As things change you will need to adjust your brand to reflect the current you. Your brand is how you can tell people what you want them to know about you. Your brand needs to be authentic and needs to be on display in everything you do. When people think of you, your brand message should be what they think of. If your brand isn’t authentic, it will be hard to live it and have people associate your brand with you. A personal brand should summarize what you bring to the mix and set you apart. It should tell someone in one to three sentences what you stand for, what you aspire to, your strengths and purpose. It tells people what you do, why you do it and what differentiates you from others in your field. It should summarize your unique selling points and be attention grabbing. The goal is to tell your story in a compelling and memorable way so that when someone thinks of your brand, they think of you.

What are some steps you can take to help you develop your brand statement?

  1. Start with a word that you think captures the essence of what you want someone to know about you and build your brand around it.
  2. List your best qualities or strengths. What ones will make your story most memorable?
  3. Next take time to think about what you do. What excites you about it and how can you share that excitement?
  4. Who is your target audience that can help you achieve your goals, and you want to think of you? What are your quantifiable results that you can make part of your story to grab their attention and interest?
  5. What do those results bring to the mix for your target audience?  What can you offer them to improve their results or achieve their goals while achieving yours?
  6. Avoid exaggeration. Authenticity is key to connections and creating a compelling brand.

Once you have what you want to communicate to your audience, create your personal brand statement.

  1. Be sure your brand uses action verbs and active not passive language.
  2. Keep it brief and concise. Avoid filler words. You only have so many seconds to capture a decision maker’s attention and make an impression that leaves them wanting to learn more about you. Keep it straightforward; brevity helps to make your brand easier to remember.
  3. Personalize it—In this day of ChatGPT and AI, you don’t want it to sound like it was written by an app. Your brand should demonstrate your personality and values to help you make connections with people.
  4. Does it showcase your unique strengths and skillset?
  5. Proofread it. A poorly written brand statement full of grammatical and punctuation errors will defeat its purpose.

Now use your brand to communicate who you are and what your story is.

  1. Make it your elevator speech. Use it when you network and are asked to tell someone about you.
  2. Include it on your social media handle and include hashtags or @targets to get your statement in front of your target audience.  
    1. Make it your LinkedIn headline.
    1. Add it to your Facebook bio.
    1. Add it to your YouTube link to help followers and potential customers recognize you and find your content as soon as possible to help make you a recognized expert.
  3. Make it the opening statement on your resume.
  4. Use it as a tagline for your online presence and website or portfolio.
  5. Revisit it every three to six months to update it as your life and career changes.

So, what are you waiting for? To paraphrase Nike’s brand: Just Do It!

Brenda McDermott, CPCU, CLP, SCLA, CIIP, SCLA, ARM, AIDA, AIC is a workers’ compensation claims specialist in The Hartford’s Major Case Unit. She is a past International Rookie, Claims Professional of the Year, Risk Management Professional of the Year and International CWC Speak-Off winner. She was the 2022 Region V Insurance Professional of the Year. She has been a long-time member of IAIP and served in multiple offices at the local, state, and regional levels. A Past Region V RVP she is currently serving as the Region V Marketing Director and Assistant to the RVP. She is co-chair of the International Marketing and Today’s Insurance Professional Committee. She is an MAL in Region V from Missouri.

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