A hospitality student recently interviewed me for a school assignment and within one of my responses I brought up brand statements. To me, I knew exactly what I was referring to, I knew what what my own statement means, and I knew exactly how I developed my own statements. However, to anyone else looking in, brand statements for individuals may be something complete new. So along that train of thought, I’ve decided to breakdown what brand statements are and how you can develop your own. (I breakdown how I created my own brand statement in Part 2. Check it out!)
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a professional brand statement?
To me, a brand statement can either be a singular statement or several statements that help to define you as a professional. Much like how brands and companies have mission statements and values, theses four ideas are how I want to be defined in the industry and are important parts of myself that I want to share upfront with coworkers, industry professionals, potential employers, etc. These statements are essentially a consumable synopsis of what is important to you and how you approach your career.
Why are professional brand statement important?
Whether or not you’re looking for a job at the present, you should always be “selling” your skills- whether it’s to your boss for a promotion, to a hiring manager to get a new job, or to a client to book business. In order to help you do so, it’s great to have a quick elevator pitch or grouping of statements that can quickly define who you are and what you believe in. What also makes this a valuable tool is that not everyone has developed their own professional brand statement. Allow this to help set you apart from other industry professionals!
When was this topic introduced to you?
I first heard the term “brand statement” from the current Director of Alumni Engagement for Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism & Hospitality Management, Jeffrey Montague, in his Fall 2016 Senior Professional Development Seminar. The course itself introduces an array of topics, but this one specifically sticks in my head because one day Montague walked to the front of the room, called on someone randomly, asked them to stand up in front of our class of 50, and tell us all what his/her statement was. Well, having never thought about that before…actually, for never having even HEARD the term before, it automatically made me nervous that I was going to be called on next. I am happy to report that I was never called on for that exercise, but you can bet that I went home that day to start brainstorming how to define myself as a professional.
How did you approach creating your brand statement?
My first inclination was to create a singular statement. I worked with that concept for a while, but it never felt right to me. I will be the first to tell you, verbosity and I know each other quite well, so whittling my thoughts down to a single sentence just never seemed like “me.” Eventually, it dawned on me that my statement didn’t have to be framed the same way as others’, so I eventually created a set of four statement that are broken down into two beliefs and then two promises. These statements also touch on four different areas: leadership, industry experience, experience design, and diversity.
Creating Your Own Brand Statement in 10 Steps
1) Be completely honest with yourself and start jotting down all your thoughts.
Who are you? What do you want to do, professionally? How do you want people to remember you? What do you believe in? Take a DISC assessment or Myers Briggs test as starting point- do you agree with those results?
2) Do your research and compile a list of words that define you. Identify aspects of brands and organizations that really speak to you. What elements of their mission and vision statements do you want to carry into your career? Which of their organizational values do you identify with? What do other industry professionals have written in their LinkedIn profiles and on their personal websites?
3) Start writing. It’s time to just start the process! Hint: Stream-of-consciousness style is a great way to begin.
4) Keep writing. Just keep writing. Just keep writing. Just keep writing! (a la Dory)
5) You should still be writing. This statement is a reflection of you as a professional so take your time, be thorough, and spend time reflecting.
6) Good, you’re still writing! Steps three through six are exactly the same for one reason: writing brand statements takes time and practice. Don’t be afraid to tear up everything you’ve already written and start over if the direction you’re taking doesn’t feel authentic. Also, when you feel like you’ve hit a wall, take a walk or take some time and then come back to what you’ve already written and view it with fresh eyes. Don’t be discouraged, this is the process of self-discovery and isn’t cut and dry for anyone. Take it in strides and enjoy the journey.
7) Read your statement aloud. What you write ALWAYS sounds different in your head than it does out loud.
8) Read it aloud to someone else. You’ve been spending a lot of time with this so you know exactly what your thought process was when you wrote your brand statement. By reading it aloud to someone else, you can see if what you’re trying to communicate comes across the way you want it to.
9) Commit to your new brand statement! Once you’ve crafted your statement, in whatever format feels most authentic for you, commit to it and fully understand why it’s important. Then incorporate it into your professional life: add it you your LinkedIn profile, put it on your website, insert it into a cover letter. The possibilities are endless!
10) Don’t be afraid to edit. Everyone changes, so don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board at a later date. (Just remember to make sure your new brand statement is saved everywhere you have initially incorporated your original statement!)
Part 2 of Breaking Down My Brand Statement is now out. In that post I talk about the stories and thought processes behind my own brand statement! Also, are we connected on LinkedIn yet? If not, send me a connection message that you came from this post!