Does your personal brand convey a competitive advantage?



We are in an instant gratification, sound byte society.  Getting back to someone in the next few days is not good enough.  Texting, IM, Email, Twitter, and the devices that support them have changed our lives forever.  It feels as though the entire world has Attention Deficit Disorder. This has a profound impact on delivering your message. You have only a few seconds to grab someone’s attention.  You need to be memorable & unique, convey what makes you special and leave a clear impression as to your value.

So what is your personal competitive advantage?

Do you have a way to etch this into someone’s mind in 30 seconds?

I would suggest, that answering these two questions is; the essence of personal branding.

I recently had the good fortune of playing Brent Snow’s Interplay business simulation game. It’s an extremely well thought out board game that forces a group of individuals to determine strategic focus, leverage all of a company’s assets (people, money, process, customers etc..) and ultimately communicate the value of the company they are creating.  The game helps provide a broad perspective on the critical factors that influence business success.

It’s hard to get better without practice.  Brent’s Interplay game allows  business people to practice what they spend over 2000 hours a year doing. It’s a clear value proposition. Interplay provides a platform to “practice business”?

At the very start of the game, your team must choose a company name and tagline.  However, in order to do this you must first pick three competitive advantages that will represent your company’s brand.  He provides a list of 8 categories from which you can select, but you must pick three.

Interplay does a wonderful job breaking down these categories of competitive advantage as follows:

  1. Innovation: Uniqueness, an original design or process… (think Apple)
  2. Premium: Exclusivity, prestige… (think BMW)
  3. Synergy: Integration of products & services… (think Microsoft)
  4. Cost: Low price, low risk… (think Wal-Mart)
  5. Know How: Industry expertise, trusted partner… (think Mayo Clinic)
  6. Delivery: convenient access… (think
  7. Velocity: rapid deployment, fast gratification…. (think Fed X)
  8. Adaptability: customized , tailored solutions (think Starbucks)

Hmmm, sounds like a good place to start defining an individual’s personal brand.

What competitive advantage are you going to bring a hiring manager?

You may be good at a lot of things, but you must select just a few that are going to represent your personal brand.

Let’s re-read the list of example companies that represent each category: Apple, BMW, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, Mayo Clinic, Amazon, Fed X and Starbucks.  If you mention any of these companies to someone, doesn’t just the name of the firm create an instant association of their “competitive advantage”?

Now think about some of these company’s tag lines:

  • The ultimate driving machine.
  • Think different!
  • When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.
  • Always low prices.

You immediately know the company and what they are all about.

Does your personal brand do the same thing?

As stated in the first paragraph of this article:

1. You have only a few seconds to grab someone’s attention.

2. You need to be memorable & unique.

3. You should convey what makes you special and leave a clear impression as to your value.



1 Response to “Does your personal brand convey a competitive advantage?”

  1. 1 Caro K. April 2, 2011 at 3:03 am

    This is an excellent way to think about personal branding, especially for those not familiar with traditional marketing techniques.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: