Personal Branding: And Why It Should Matter To Service Members & Veterans

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What is the single biggest difference between success in the Military and success in a civilian business world?

Success in the military is achieved by letting go of your individuality; only through complete and utter selflessness can you serve your country and your comrades effectively. In a life or death situation there is no time for your own needs, you simply act according to what’s best for the team and your unit.

However, success outside the military is achieved by the completely opposite approach – Only by embracing your individuality and uniqueness will you ever be able to stand out from the huge crowd you’re competing with.

Today I would like to talk to you about personal branding and what it means for a soon-to-be vet like yourself.

What Exactly is Personal Branding?

Personal branding is essentially building a business or career out of yourself. We all have individual talents and skills, so the goal of personal branding is to develop those assets into something profitable.

“Personal branding is the process whereby people and their careers are marked as brands. It’s the creation of an asset that pertains to a particular person or individual; this includes but is not limited to the body, clothing, appearance and knowledge contained within, leading to an unforgettable impression that is uniquely distinguishable.” Wikipedia

There are three important things to take from this definition:

Firstly, Personal Branding is a Process

It takes time; it’s not something that’s going to happen overnight. In the military you’re programmed to want instant results and to follow instant obedience. Everything is fast-paced. Personal branding is NOT fast-paced; it’s about patience, determination and consistent follow-through.

Secondly, Personal Branding is Creating an Asset…

An asset that is uniquely your own. You never have to worry about being laid off or depending on the welfare of a big company because YOU are who you depend on. Personal branding can never be stripped away from you unless you’re the one that makes that happen. The goal of personal branding is to make yourself distinct and unforgettable to the people you serve (your customers, clients or employer).

Thirdly, Anyone Can Establish Their Own Personal Brand

Clothing, attitude, appearance, knowledge, talents and abilities can all be used to establish a brand for yourself. I can guarantee you that there is something about you that other people want; we just have to identify it and present it to the world.

Why is Personal Branding For Veterans Important?

Branding is more important today than it ever has been. Big companies know this, small companies know this, and thousands of individual entrepreneurs know this, too. Branding is how you secure your position in a market… You sell something that nobody else is selling, and you do that by selling your sizzle, not your steak.

For example, McDonald’s doesn’t sell burgers, they sell convenience. Mercedes doesn’t sell cars, they sell luxury and prestige. Jewelers don’t sell wedding rings, they sell love. In the same way, whatever type of business or project you decide to embark on, it’ll be YOU that you’re trying to sell.

At the moment don’t worry about what specifically you’re going to do, just worry about the importance of personal branding and making yourself the person you rely on most. Personal branding offers you security, flexibility and independence. It offers you the chance to choose your fate and to make your own way in the world.

As a soon-to-be veteran you’ve already spent more than enough time following instructions, now it’s time to take charge of your future.

What Can You Do Right Now?

Remember, personal branding is a process, so don’t expect to figure out your post-military life plan after reading just one article. It’s going to take time to make a plan, and it’s going to take time to set that plan in motion.

That being said, there are 3 things you can start doing right now:

  1. Abandon the idea that there is anybody above you, or that have you set-in-stone ties to any one company/organization.
  2. Start thinking of yourself as something unique. Begin seeking out and taking stock of your talents and unique characteristics. Dig through your personality to find what sets you apart and makes you YOU!
  3. Begin paying attention to all the brands around you. When you’re watching TV or reading a magazine or surfing the Internet, what do you notice that other brands are doing to create a distinct impression?

Debriefing

Even if you don’t have any ideas about what lies ahead of you right now, as you start to move yourself away from the perspective of a Soldier and towards the perspective of a brand (and almost a marketer), the ideas will start firing off. The fact that you got through this article and now understand the importance of personal branding has already put you 1 step forward from where you were just half an hour ago.

Stay tuned to this blog to get more info and insights into how you can take charge of your life after the military, and how you can use your military experience and training to make a future for yourself.

Next well discuss, 5 Ways To Establish A Personal Brand.

The Personal Branding Series

Curtez Riggs is a Retired Army Soldier, Entrepreneur, and friend to at least two important people. He is also the founder of the Military Influencer Conference℠, an exciting, dynamic event that brings together hundreds of spouses, community leaders, entrepreneurs, and influencers united by a passion for the military. You can find him online at: Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook

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