Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Navigating the Complex World of Branding

For the sales rep, it’s vital to recognize the differences between your professional branding and the newspaper’s company brand.

There’s been a lot of talk about branding in the business world, and it’s clear that branding is an essential component of a successful and rewarding career. For the sales rep, it’s vital to recognize the differences between your professional branding and the newspaper’s company brand. As a sales rep, you should know that your professional brand is formed by the intersection of your personal identity and the company’s image (think of the relationship between these three areas of branding as a Venn diagram personal identity and company branding are the two circles that overlap to help create the professional brand). By developing a strong professional brand, you can connect better with your clients and sell your products more efficiently, all while reinforcing your newspaper’s company brand. A sales rep’s professional brand is a way to deliver a strong first impression and display traits and skills to clients. Understanding the ins-and-outs of branding will help you in recognizing your client’s needs and help you help them with their branding advertisements.

Personal Identity

Let’s start with what personal identity is: a mixture of your accomplishments, values, skills and assets. It partly consists of your body language, appearance and area of knowledge. A strong personal identity is an opportunity to create a unique impression that distinguishes you from others. You don’t necessarily create your personal identity as much as you discover it. Recognizing your goals and creating a personal statement are vital aspects of discovering your personal identity. Think about what qualities and attributes your peers often associate with you do people call you creative, funny, innovative? These descriptors will help you define your personal identity. In the end, your personal identity is a blend of self-awareness and outside perceptions.

Company Branding

Company branding, on the other hand, is the company’s public image. For instance, think of Disney, it is used to create brand recognition, loyalty and top of mind awareness. By having a strong company brand, you begin to develop consistent customer loyalty because buyers are familiar with your brand. Company branding encompasses the logo, customer service, employee satisfaction and training, product/service packaging, advertising as well as the quality of products/services. It’s been discussed that company brands succeed when there is a strong connection between strategic vision, organizational culture and outside stakeholders’ perception of your company’s image. When creating a company brand, keep the following in mind:

• Target audience, demographics and buyer needs

• Brand elasticity, equity, performance and distribution

• Offered products/services

• Competitors’ branding

• Growth levels

• Organizational structure and culture

• Role

• Other specific company-related issues

Professional Branding

Professional branding is the intersection of your personal identity and the company brand. A strong understanding of your personal identity will enable you to create a strong professional brand. Professional branding is extremely important to anyone who is searching for a job, expanding their career or working directly with clients. This brand should portray your professionalism and reflect a positive impression of your skills and assets. Professional branding includes any information you’d want a prospective client or employer to know about you. You don’t want to make this a platform for personal achievements that have no direct correlation to your professional niche. Which leads to the golden rule of professional branding: Keep your personal life private and your professional brand public. This doesn’t mean your brand has to be impersonal, just be aware of what type of content you’re making available to the public. Be careful what you post — not only on your blog, website or social media profile, but also what you post on others’ pages. Begin to build your professional brand by showcasing your talents, skills and assets to the public. Tools for professional branding include:

• CV

• Online identity: a strong website, social media presence, blogging, LinkedIn

• Volunteering

Be sure to maintain your brand — this is important since just because you build a brand, it doesn’t mean it will stick. Keep your profiles updated and stay in contact with colleagues to build your network, this will help you build your brand on regular basis.