Excerpted from article by Thomas D. Cairns

“It’s in the Game”; “Just Do It”; and “What can Brown do for you?” are very recognizable advertising and brand slogans. To be effective they need to be more than words, they need to convey a feeling, a disposition, an “attitude.” This attitude must lead to a positive view of their product or service by the consumer. The same is true about career search. 

Is your brand recognizable? Does it differentiate you from the competition? Does your “attitude” lead to a positive feeling about you as a potential employee? 

Most brands can be stated in six words or less. What about your brand? Can it be expressed in six words or less, be memorable and convey a positive feeling about you? I know EA Sports, Nike and UPS spent years developing their product or service, testing and perfecting it and they continue to manage their brand to keep it relevant. 

It does not matter whether you are a recent college graduate or have years of experience; you need to focus on managing your brand. The question is do you know your brand and what it says about you now, and in the future?

This is critical to job search and a successful career. Some people struggle articulating their strengths while others have trouble narrowing it to six words. If you are someone that could use some help in this area, consider the following exercise. 

I am going to name a few brand slogans and ask you to tell me the product or service. Ready, “The Ultimate Driving Machine,” that is easy BMW. Great now “Something Special in the Air.” A little more difficult, but it is American Airlines. Are you ready for the lighting round? 

“What’s in your wallet,” You care enough to send the very best,” “Bringing weather to life,” “It gives you wings” and “Unlock the magic.” I could go on but you get the point. You are every bit a brand as much as Capital One, Hallmark, The Weather Channel, Red Bull and Oreo Cookie. I know you said Disney but you were wrong. 

Next, think of a brand slogan (one we have not used) that best describes you or how you want to be perceived. What does it say about you the product or service? Test to see if others agree. Regardless, whether the responses are yes, no or maybe you are on your way to communicating your brand. In fact, Tom Peters says everything you do or not do communicates your brand value and character. 

Finally, you need to establish your own brand identity otherwise; you will be guilty of brand infringement. This exercise should help you focus on creating a brand identity that sets you apart from the competition. Understand the product or service is what determines an effective brand.