“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.” – King Solomon
There are countless articles and blogs that tell you how important it is to establish personal branding is in order to build — and grow — your career. And that’s especially true in the highly competitive sports business world.
But how, exactly, do you create a personal brand?
First, let’s start with the definition of “Personal Brand.” At it’s core, your personal brand is what people think of you. Simply put, it’s your reputation.
You can probably look at your high school yearbook and discover what your brand was while in school. Not necessarily by the pictures, but more by what people wrote inside when they signed it.
Some of you may have had classmates write things like: “To the smartest girl I know…” Or maybe, “Good luck with basketball next year…” Or, “Dude – you’re the craziest m-effer I’ve ever met… let’s party like rock stars this summer!” If you read closely, all those things your friends wrote, you’ll probably find a common theme. That was your brand.
Today, as an aspiring sports exec, you can build your brand to be almost whatever you want it to be. The key, however, is that it must be true to who you are as a person, and a professional (or at least the kind of professional you want to become). You’re the one in control.
The Most Important Factor
The most important factor to creating a personal brand are not your words, but your actions. Lou Imbriano, author of Winning the Customer, and a contributor to SPORTS LAUNCH – The Magazine, says when you’re first starting out, even at the lowest level like a coffee runner, “Be the best coffee fetcher in the world.” You will be judged on your attitude and how seriously you approach work. Your actions ultimately become your reputation.
“Personal Branding,” on the other hand, is more than just your actions; it’s also about being proactive. And deliberate. Branding is a verb. It’s what you do in order to deliver your brand message. Below I’m going to outline the 10 Touch Points of Personal Branding.
The 10 Touch Points of Personal Branding
The key to personal branding, for those who are pursuing a sports career, is to have a clear, consistent and unified message across all platforms of communication. In order to do that, you’ll need to incorporate your brand message into the 10 Touch Point listed below:
- Introduction Letter
- Social Media
- Networking Conversations (Your 6-second spiel)
- Show & Tell Items (College; real world)
- Personal Website and/or Blog
- Testimonials/References (Professors, Co-Workers, Coaches, Rabbi, etc)
- Look the Part
- Sound the Part (Know the lingo; speak with confidence)
- Killer Pitch (In-person, on phone, in email, and to close the interview)
Most of All, Don’t Forget…
But most of all, don’t forget that the most crucial aspect of personal brand building is how you treat others, how diligent you are in preparing, how you keep your word and how you complete tasks. Your actions speak the loudest. Everything else — your touch points — should simply reinforce what you do.