How Do You Rate Your Brand? PreVeteran Blog

Brand Concept

Your Brand

At work I ask people all the time, “how is your brand?” Normally my question is met with an inquisitive facial expression from the person I am speaking to. Most shrug off the question as being gimmicky because they feel I deliberately interject a business term into a routine personal conversation. And I do. But I do so to make a point. How often do you, the service member, take time to think of yourself as a brand? If you have ever taken a business class, your instructor will talk at length about a company’s brand. It is the product or service they deliver and the personal care and attention they devote, day in and day out, to provide the best-possible experience to their customer.

If you think about a brand is that context, it is easy to see that service members fit into the same narrative. They deliver a product or service—or both—to their organization (the customer). How well we deliver that product or service, day in and day out, becomes their individual brand.

The Benefits of Thinking of Yourself as a Brand

There are several benefits to thinking of yourself as a brand; however, I will only cover a few of the main points. First, it ties you to your work in a meaningful way. For example, if your job is to provide training to your organization, the deliverable is not just the training plan. Is becomes how well you create, deliver, and implement the training plan. It is your brand. How well you accomplish and deliver the work is as important as the work itself.

Internalizing branding helps solve one of the more troublesome challenges associated with PreVeteran military members—articulating what you do in the military into terms that will resonate with those in the private sector. By simply embracing the branding concept and applying it to yourself, you have gone a long way to bridge the wide gap between performing government work and functioning in the private sector.

Creating and Portraying Your Professional Brand

Your brand is more than what you do. It is having the forethought to determine how you want to be viewed by others and then take the actions necessary to bring about that conclusion. It is more cognitive and proactive then simply doing your job well. The simplest way to create your brand is to know what your skill set and strengths are and continually work on honing those to provide your customer the best-possible experience at every engagement.

Once you create the brand you want to communicate, then you take the steps to portray and promote that brand. In this digital, database-driven age, you simply must have a LinkedIn account. This is primarily because the way people network and look for partnering opportunities is influenced by the convenience LinkedIn offers with its keyword search. Similar to a simple Google search, within minutes, you can connect with the right type of person or group you are searching for. Prior to this, you had to meet others at networking events. While face-to-face meetings are still very effective, they are not as efficient as using a digital database like LinkedIn.

Conclusion

No matter where you are in your career, take some time to think about how you and others rate your brand. This is especially important for those of you nearing separation or military retirement. Making that mental shift from simply doing work to providing the customer the best-possible experience will go a long way to ensure your success long after you finish your military service.

  • Charles Curran

    Excellent advice in all your blog postings. I’m 15 years retired and find myself in an incredibly rich environment for veterans here in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area.

    What prompted me to read your blog was a conversation with a gentleman interested in expanding the signature sponsorships for veteran owned technology businesses. Looking for references about DoD or VA funding for veteran entrepreneurs (there doesn’t seem to be any – not even a revolving fund for incubators or accelerators), I happened across a link to your book on Google. Good stuff. I hope to build on your conclusions to create better structure for veterans prior to their separation, soften their landing, and breed success.

    Even with an acquisition background, I did not know business prior to retirement from the Air Force. Structure helps that learning curve.

    Keep writing.

  • Jonny Coreson

    Charles!
    As a veteran owned technology business of my own, I can tell you that Patriot Bootcamp by Techstars is probably the best resource available. That would open doors for a variety of accelerator programs with success.
    Personally, I’ve had the pleasure of attending an INC 500/5000 event through their Military Entrepreneurship Program. I look forward to new ventures and initiatives too! There are so many hungry PreVeteran’s out there.
    And thank you for your service.
    Jonny