U R A Brand by Catherine Kaputa is a great business book that applies to everyone, whether you’re an entrepreneur or just looking for the next step in your career. She goes over how smart people brand themselves to get an edge on their competition. An employer probably gets over 100+ applications after posting an open position on a job board. How do you stand out from the rest of those applicants…or do you try to blend in? Blending in might work at first but essentially it makes you a commodity; disposable. You need to build as much value as possible to be competitive. Check out what Catherine Kaputa recommends:
1. Think Different
Study your competition but don’t imitate them. Study what makes them successful or unsuccessful. Think about what you like about their brand and what you dislike; adopt the positive attributes and avoid adopting the negative attributes. Think about what makes you unique and different from the herd and expand on that. If you appear to be the same as all of your competition, then you’re a commodity in the market place.
2. Look for the “Sweet Spot”: Where a Good Idea and Market Needs Meet
Supply and demand is the name of the game. “If you don’t stand for something relevant to the marketplace, you have no value” -Kaputa. Look for a spot where there are few or no competitors, uncover your hidden assets and then determine where there is a need and hit it hard.
3. Choose a Strategy
You need a strategy that gives people a reason for choosing you over your competitor. There are 10 self-brand strategies you can use to get great results.
1. Be the first
2. Be the leader
3. Take the anti-leader position (go against the grain, think Michael Moore)
4. Own an attribute
5. Use a “magic ingredient” or invent a new process
6. Be an expert
7. Be preferred
8. Set a high price tag (a risky move if you don’t have the skill or experience to justify it)
9. Use your special heritage
10. Own a cause
4. Develop Your Visual Identity
The way you look can influence the perspective of others and often leaves a lasting impact. Who would you trust more, a doctor in ripped jeans, a dirty shirt, and messy hair who smells like cigarettes or a clean cut, well groomed doctor in a lab coat? Think about using one or more of these guidelines to brand your image: clothes, a signature item, a different look that still looks the part, a signature hair style (think Donald Trump), a consistent look, a signature color theme, have a strong presence, leverage your height (think Shaq and Kevin Hart), and staying relevant.
5. Think in Terms of Emotional Engagement
“We form the strongest bonds with the brands we like, identify with, and feel emotionally connected with…”- Kaputa. Think about what the market wants or needs and build an emotional engagement between that and your brand. This reminds me of the Texting and Driving commercials. These work off of a huge emotional response when we see young adults, children, and new parents going about their lives one minute and the next minute they’re involved in a massive, life altering collision. These tear-inducing commercials build a strong emotional engagement with their audience because they relate to anybody who has a car and a phone…which is virtually everyone.
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