I graduated last July and have had an incredibly busy and intense ten months since, in which I have learnt some essential life lessons. What I valued in my character then, I have built upon and reprioritised, creating a new outlook and understanding of the working world.
As brands have become such an integral part of the world around us, it is a useful exercise to see how we fare as one. As a keen marketeer, this is not the first time that I have examined myself in these terms. Firstly, I must determine the audience I am aiming myself at, then identify my competitors and where I wish to stand among them, and finally to state my brand values.
This is whomever I come into contact with and want to leave with a positive impression of who I am. To use work as an example, I want to be able to show off what I can do well to my colleagues as well as my bosses. This perspective works across all aspects of life: friends and social life, networking, sport and – as previously mentioned – employment.
My competitors are mainly those in my age group. To compare how they are doing (wage and position) with my own position puts my own brand into context. This competitive streak often adds to the ambition that keeps my career in forward motion.
At this point in time, I stand quite snugly with the majority of my career-hungry peer demographic, although I feel that my drive, consideration and innovation will differentiate me in the future. And while career is important to me, I look to distinguish myself from my competition with my diverse interests and skills.
This can be seen in the hobbies and projects I have taken on, as I started a video production company at university, published a short story collection with several other graduates straight after graduation, I am learning kickboxing and jazz piano, and am constantly looking for new perspectives and skills that will help generate a further gap from my peers.
Within this examination of what my brand is, lies the values that drives me forward. These explain how I act and how I present myself:
– Innovation: There are so many opportunities to innovate and develop. This not only constitutes a chance for change, but also provides a progressive perspective.
– Diversity: I enjoy learning, and part of that is taking on as much as I can in every aspect of what I do. It not only helps me stand out, but also helps me enjoy everything I do. That way if I have a bad day in one thing, I can take a breath and pick something else up.
– Adaptability: Part of this arises in diversity. I enjoy being someone to rely on and part of that is knowing how to react in each situation. And while I am definitely not perfect in this regard, each event acts as a learning experience and puts me in a better position to know for next time.
As with any established brand the most important aspect is to review the end result, as only then can we progress in the most informed and effective way. This exercise works well as a tool for understanding your approach as well as viewing the brands that surround our everyday life from another perspective.
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Chris Player is currently working for EMAP in the Marketing team. Since his graduation last year he has worked as an political journalism intern, an Account Executive in advertising, published a short story collection and is learning jazz piano and kickboxing.