What is a Branding Statement?
A branding statement is a short, memorable statement that captures the essence of who you are and why you are valuable. The ideal branding statement blends personal and professional branding—a combination of personal traits and skills or expertise.
Why do you need a Branding Statement?
A well-crafted branding statement is an effective way to establish yourself as a person of interest in a variety of circumstances — as job candidate, as a consultant or advisor, as a speaker, as an author or blogger, as a participant in meetings, and even in social settings. Variations of your branding statement may be used for resumes, social media profiles, author and speaker bios, and as verbal introduction.
What makes a good Branding Statement?
- Concise is one of the most important characteristics of a good branding statement. Keep it short and to the point. Don’t think “elevator pitch” because the typical elevator pitch is in the range of 60 seconds. With a branding statement 10 to 15 seconds is more practical.
- Catchy branding statements are memorable. There are many ways to make the statement catchy. Interesting phrasing such as “respected from the computer room to the boardroom” can be effective. Alliteration sometimes works well, for example “ensuring successful deployments through testing, training, and timing.” An engaging statement of values — “doing the right things, and doing those things right”—can be effective. These are, of course, but a few examples of techniques for a catchy and memorable branding statement.
- Credible is an essential characteristic. Using language that is perceived as hype or bragging — ‘a master the cutting edge of technology” or “always groundbreaking and innovative” — does make a memorable branding statement, but you want to be remembered for the right reasons.
- Casual helps to emphasize the “person” in personal branding. A statement that is burdened with buzzwords and business-speak or techno-speak doesn’t create the impression of an approachable individual, and frequently has the opposite effect. Consider the differences of these two statements: (1) My career establishes a strong track record of highly successful digital transformation initiatives. (2) I’ve enjoyed several opportunities to build and lead digital transformation teams.
Crafting Your Branding Statement
Let’s go through each step in the image above.
(1) FIVE QUESTIONS
When creating your branding statement, begin by answering 5 questions.
- What are your most significant personal traits?
- Here are some suggestions: Accurate, Ambitious, Artistic, Calm, Capable, Charismatic, Conscientious, Cooperative, Competent, Consistent, Curious, Creative, Decisive, Diligent, Disciplined, Easygoing, Efficient, Energetic, Engaging, Enterprising, Enthusiastic, Experienced, Flexible/Versatile, Independent, Innovative, Introspective, Intuitive, Logical, Mathematical, Methodical, Meticulous, Open Minded, Optimistic, Patient, Perceptive, Persistent, Practical, Pragmatic, Precise, Productive, Purposeful, Reliable, Respectful, Self-Confident, Thorough, Well-spoken
- What is your role as a professional?
- If you need some help describing your roles take a look at these ideas:
- Leadership Job Roles: Chief Information Officer (CIO), Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Chief Technology Officer (CTO), IT Director, IT Manager, IT Project Manager
- Architecture Job Roles: Cloud Infrastructure Architect, Enterprise Architect, Infrastructure Architect, Solutions Architect
- Network and System Administration Job Roles: Network Administrator, Network Architect, Network Engineer, Service Desk Analyst, System Administrator, Systems Analyst, Systems Architect
- Database Administration Job Roles: Database Administrator, Database Analyst, SQL Database Administrator
- Analytics and Business Intelligence Job Roles: Business Intelligence Analyst, Data Analyst, Data Architect, Data Engineer, Data Scientist, Data Warehouse Developer, Machine Learning/Analytics Engineer
- If you need some help describing your roles take a look at these ideas:
- What are the important things that you do?
- Who wants or needs you to do those things?
- How do the things that you do help people?
In the end, you may not include answers to all of these in the statement, but the thought processes help you to get to the final result.
(2) ROUGH DRAFT
Using these questions, create a rough draft of the statement by filling in the blanks in this template:
I am [personal traits] [role] who [does what] for [who] to [accomplish what]
The fill-in-the-blanks result might look something like this:
“I am an experienced and engaging educator dedicated to sharing knowledge with data and information professionals to help them excel in their jobs and their careers.”
(3) REVIEW & TEST
Don’t stop at the rough draft. It is only the beginning. Test it against each of the criteria for what makes a good statement, and refine as needed.
- Concise? This statement isn’t really bad at 26 words, but a good rule of thumb suggests that 20 words is a practical maximum.
- Catchy? There is a bit of alliteration here with “experienced and engaging educator” but it doesn’t really get high marks for catchy and memorable.
- Credible? Yes, the statement is credible, trending more toward humility than hype.
- Casual? Although not excessively stuffy, the statement doesn’t show as much of the individual as is ideal in a really strong branding statement. Showing more of the person may be the best way to make this one memorable.
Based on the results of review and test, the next step is to rethink and rephrase the statement. At this stage it is okay—perhaps even desirable—to break away from the template structure and to not include all of the answers to the 5 questions. It makes sense to question some of the words used in the rough draft:
What do you mean by “experienced” educator?
Well, I have more than 25 years of experience in many different business and technical roles. Through my entire career, I have been a continuous learner so I’ve acquired a lot of knowledge over the years.
Why do you say you’re an “engaging” educator?
I think it is my natural curiosity. I’m always more interested in what I don’t yet know than what I do know, so I’m always looking, listening, reading, and learning. I think the enthusiasm for learning new things comes across in the classroom in a way that catches the attention and interest of the students.
Now, with some added perspective we can move from rough draft to a statement that does a better job of satisfying all of the criteria — concise, catchy, credible, and casual.
I am an educator, sharing 25 years of experience, curiosity, and learning so others may have equally rich and rewarding careers.
The new statement measures up to the four criteria much better than the rough draft. The word count is reduced. It feels more memorable with a phrase like “25 years of experience, curiosity, and learning” than with weak alliteration. It is still hype free and somewhat humble. And it creates a stronger impression of an approachable person than in the draft. I’ll stop here for this example, but expect to recheck and refine a few times when creating your statement.
Using Your Branding Statement
It works well to adapt and modify your branding statement, expressing it in slightly different ways for various circumstances – for example making the right changes for your resume, speaker bio, and LinkedIn profile. For example:
- As a one-liner at the top of the resume this branding statement could be revised and shortened to say, “an educator sharing more than 25 years of experience, curiosity, and learning.”
- As the first sentence of a resume summary, it could be expanded and modified to say, “A data management educator sharing more than 25 years of technical and business experience to help others excel in their careers.”
- A similar statement works as a speaker introduction or author bio: “John Smith is a data management educator sharing more than 25 years of experience and learning. John shares his knowledge to help others excel in their careers.”
- The statement can be used to create the headline for a LinkedIn profile. Most basic is “Data Management Educator.” Reaching back to take some thoughts from the rough draft, it might expand to say “Experienced and Engaging Data Management Educator.”
- A LinkedIn profile summary allows up to 2000 characters, so you can be more expansive. A variation of the branding statement is a good lead-in to that more expansive summary.
- It works well when expressed in first-person: “I am a data management educator sharing more than 25 years of experience, curiosity, and learning so others may have equally rich and rewarding careers.”
- Taking it a step further, you can include some of the thoughts and introspection from the check-and-revise steps of creating your branding statement, producing something like this: “I am a data management educator sharing more than 25 years of experience, curiosity, and learning so others may have equally rich and rewarding careers. As a continuous learner working in many different business and technical roles, I have acquired a lot of knowledge over the years. Today I’m compelled to share that knowledge with others. I enjoy sharing knowledge, but more importantly I hope to pass on curiosity and love of learning.”
About Jennifer Hay
I’ve been writing technical resumes and advising on career transitions for almost 15 years.
Throughout that time, I’ve read numerous articles about best practices for IT resume writing. What I found in those articles is a lot of bad information because it’s the same advice they give for non-technical professionals. This is important because IT resumes are different.
I built this website to share what I’ve learned in my career. I think you’ll find information on this website that will help make your IT resume a success.