Breaking Down My Brand Statement Pt. 2 | Professional Development

This is Part 2 of “Breaking Down My Brand Statement.  Just as a refresher, or if this is your introduction to my site, I learned about professional brand statements from one of my undergraduate professors at Temple University.  Broadly speaking, brand statements are a way to sum up your professional promises, view of the industry, and a written demonstration of who you are as a professional – think of it like your own mission or vision statement!  In Part 1, I introduced the topic and discussed some tips for starting to write your own statement (click here to check out that post!).  In Part 2, I’m going to discuss my own brand statements.

My brand statement is broken down into four separate statements; two are promises and two are beliefs.  My statement includes themes of leadership style, acceptance, and diversity, and my view of the experience economy and experience portfolios.

Brand Statement #1 - Sub-header photo

This first statement was inspired by my time choreographing for childrens’ community theatre.  I grew up participating in community theatre and whether or not I was performing or teaching, I’ve found that the dances that are the simplest, borderline boring (you know, the ones where you do “step-touch” the whole number), were ALWAYS the sloppiest.  However, if you assess the skill level of your cast and then take the difficulty of the dances a half-step or a full step up from there, the product that you receive in return was always cleaner.  By increasing the difficulty of the dances, it gave the cast more of an incentive to practice, because they couldn’t achieve perfection the first time, and consequently, it the kids felt more accomplished once they realized their delayed success.  For me, what this has taught me is that as a leader, I want to help others surpass what they thought they were capable of.  Most of the time the largest and scariest barriers are the ones that person puts up for themselves.  I want to be the person that helps them to overcome that and ultimately come out stronger on the other side.

Brand Statement #2 - Sub-header photo

This second statement is born out of my own experience.  I have been fortunate enough to work and intern for a variety of companies since I graduated high school- all within hospitality in one way or another.  When I first started to look at the array of experiences I had accumulated, I had a hard time telling a cohesive story.  What I have since learned is that no matter job or the place, always approach with the intent to learn something new or hone a skill.  The example I love to use is my time as a Loss Prevention Officer with Marriott Vacations Worldwide.  No, loss prevention is not for me and I don’t think it will ever be something I want to pursue.  However, how I frame that experience is that I was able to get a hands on learning opportunity in the areas of safety, securing, and emergencies.  I now utilize that new “lens” to view my current events career through.  That internship, in a completely separate sector of the industry, now allows me to be more conscience of the safety and emergency preparedness component of events.  So this statement is a reflection on my time in the industry and how diversity of thought and experience will always bring new ideas to the table.

Brand Statement #3 - Sub-header photo

Statement three is essentially what I love most about events and the experience economy as a whole.  I have decided to focus my career on experience planning, design, and implementation, and this statement outlines that.  My career goal is to help people to translate ideas and thoughts into actual events.  Not only do I want to create the event, I want it to be done so well that it sticks with the Guest, the client, etc., and becomes a valuable and positive memory.  For me, I love events because they are something that helps to enrich peoples’ lives and helps give people stories to tell.  This statement is my bookmarker for my place in the industry.

Brand Statement #4 - Sub-header photo

Lastly, this statement is influenced by all the people in my life and all their beautiful and unique thoughts.  Diversity is the key to creativity and I wanted to expressly state how deeply I believe that statement.  Everyone has a different background and a different story, and it is those differences, when brought to the same table, that create new ideas, new possibility, and solutions.

My journey to crafting my brand statement is unique to me, so do not let the fact that your journey looks different than mine discourage you- because it’s supposed to be different!  What I really want you to take away from this post is that inspiration can come from a variety of sources.  Don’t dismiss one experience because it doesn’t strictly align with your career choices.  Find what speaks to you and craft that into your own statement.  Again, if we aren’t connected on LinkedIn yet, find me there and let me know you came from this post!  Lastly, drop your brand statement journeys in the comments below so myself and others can hear your story as well!

All my best,

AlexandraMottershead.com

Credits:

Breaking Down My Brand Statement Pt. 1 | Professional Development

A hospitality student recently interviewed me for a school assignment and within one of my responses I brought up brand statements.  To me, I knew exactly what I was referring to, I knew what what my own statement means, and I knew exactly how I developed my own statements.  However, to anyone else looking in, brand statements for individuals may be something complete new.  So along that train of thought, I’ve decided to breakdown what brand statements are and how you can develop your own.  (Part 2 to this mini-mini series will come next and will talk more specifically about my own brand statement.)

I believe…

…in encouraging people to visualize success, work hard, and exceed their own expectations of themselves; to rise above the constraints they’ve created.

…that all industry experience is relevant experience, and that a diversified experience portfolio is the key to success and innovative thought.

I promise…

…to take the intangible ideas and concepts of others and transform them into experiences that exceed expectations and leave a lasting, positive, and memorable impact on others and the industry as a whole.

…to create spaces where acceptance is not a stranger, and creativity and artistry are free to grow and inspire.

What is a professional brand statement?

To me, these statements can either be a singular statement or several statements that help to define you as a professional.  Much like how brands and companies have mission statements and values, theses four ideas are how I want to be defined in the industry and are important parts of myself that I want to share upfront with coworkers, industry professionals, potential employers, etc.  These statements are essentially a consumable synopsis of what is important to you and how you approach your career.

Why are professional brand statement important?

Whether or not you’re looking for a job at the present, you should always be “selling” your skills- whether it’s to your boss for a promotion, to a hiring manager to get a new job, or to a client to book business.  In order to help you do so, it’s great to have a quick elevator pitch or grouping of statements that can quickly define who you are and what you believe in.  What also makes this a valuable tool is that not everyone has developed their own professional brand statement.  Allow this to help set you apart from other industry professionals!

When was this topic introduced to you?

I first heard the term “brand statement” from the current Director of Alumni Engagement for Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism & Hospitality Management, Jeffrey Montague, in his Fall 2016 Senior Professional Development Seminar.  The course itself introduces an array of topics, but this one specifically sticks in my head because one day Montague walked to the front of the room, called on someone randomly, asked them to stand up in front of our class of 50, and tell us all what his/her statement was.  Well, having never thought about that before…actually, for never having even HEARD the term before, it automatically made me nervous that I was going to be called on next.  I am happy to report that I was never called on for that exercise, but you can bet that I went home that day to start brainstorming how to define myself as a professional.

How did you approach creating your brand statement?

My first inclination was to create a singular statement.  I worked with that concept for a while, but it never felt right to me.  I will be the first to tell you, verbosity and I know each other quite well, so whittling my thoughts down to a single sentence just never seemed like “me.”  Eventually, it dawned on me that my statement didn’t have to be framed the same way as others’, so I eventually created a set of four statement that are broken down into two beliefs and then two promises.  These statements also touch on four different areas: leadership, industry experience, experience design, and diversity.

 

How to Create Your Own Professional Brand Statement - Sub-header

(1) Be completely honest with yourself and start jotting down all your thoughts.
Who are you?  What do you want to do, professionally?  How do you want people to remember you?  What do you believe in?  Take a DISC assessment or Myers Briggs test as starting point- do you agree with those results?

(2) Do your research and compile a list of words that define you.
Identify aspects of brands and organizations that really speak to you.  What elements of their mission and vision statements do you want to carry into your career?  Which of their organizational values do you identify with?  What do other industry professionals have written in their LinkedIn profiles and on their personal websites?

(3) Start writing.
It’s time to just start the process!  Hint: Stream-of-consciousness style is a great way to begin.

(4) Keep writing.
Just keep writing.  Just keep writing.  Just keep writing! (a la Dory)

(5) You should still be writing.
This statement is a reflection of you as a professional so take your time, be thorough, and spend time reflecting.

(6) Good, you’re still writing!
Steps three through six are exactly the same for one reason: writing brand statements takes time and practice.  Don’t be afraid to tear up everything you’ve already written and start over if the direction you’re taking doesn’t feel authentic.  Also, when you feel like you’ve hit a wall, take a walk or take some time and then come back to what you’ve already written and view it with fresh eyes.  Don’t be discouraged, this is the process of self-discovery and isn’t cut and dry for anyone.  Take it in strides and enjoy the journey.

(7) Read your statement aloud.
What you write ALWAYS sounds different in your head than it does out loud.

(8) Read it aloud to someone else.
You’ve been spending a lot of time with this so you know exactly what your thought process was when you wrote your brand statement.  By reading it aloud to someone else, you can see if what you’re trying to communicate comes across the way you want it to.

(9) Commit to your new brand statement!
Once you’ve crafted your statement, in whatever format feels most authentic for you, commit to it and fully understand why it’s important.  Then incorporate it into your professional life: add it you your LinkedIn profile, put it on your website, insert it into a cover letter.  The possibilities are endless!

(10) Don’t be afraid to edit.
Everyone changes, so don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board at a later date.  (Just remember to make sure your new brand statement is saved everywhere you have initially incorporated your original statement!)

Stay tuned for part 2 where I’ll talk about the stories and thought processes behind my own brand statement!  Also, are we connected on LinkedIn yet?  If not, send me a connection message that you came from this post!

All my best,

AlexandraMottershead.com

Credits:

5 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Internship! | Professional Development

I recently sat down with our Industry Relations intern at work because she wanted to hear a little more about what I do.  So, that’s how the conversation started, but as I was explaining my position, I unconsciously started adding some tips and tricks I learned along the way while I was still in school and interning for various companies.  That conversation inspired this post and helped me to stop and think about some of the best tools in my tool belt that other young professionals may or may not be using.

1)  Focus less on Instagram, Snapchat, and those other purely social mediums and focus more on LinkedIn and the professional side of social media!  LinkedIn is an underrated tool in the young professionals’ tool belt.  Many times you are forced to create an account for a class (like I was), but then you never update it or go on.  LinkedIn is a great source for not only keeping up with industry trends and sharing professional accolades, but it is also a great way to research potential careers you want and network, as well as find jobs.  Start looking at profiles of established professionals who are in positions that you see yourself holding in the future.  What did they study in school?  What experiences did that accept as they made their way to the position they currently hold?  Don’t be scared to set a connection request either if you find someone you really want to speak with.

2)  And that brings me to tip #2, set up informational calls/interviews or professional meet & greets.  No matter the title, they’re all the same thing- they’re conversations with a professional that you set up with the intent on asking them about their career and the companies they’ve worked for.  Remember, you’re not begging for a job during these- this is a time for research and networking!  These conversations can be held in person, over the computer or on the phone so it’s an easy way to start talking with a company that could be based states away from where you’re currently located.  These are also a great no pressure way of getting yourself in front of a person at a company that you’re interested in.  One last thing, just because it isn’t a job interview doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still prepare for the meeting.  You should still take the time to research the company and the person and formulate questions ahead of time.  Take this seriously and maybe the person on the other end of the line could become a mentor or an instrumental part of reaching your dream job one day.  You never know what could happen so make you’re prepared and you put your best foot forward.

3)  Don’t be afraid to be a little pushy- just not in a negative way!  What I mean is, if there is an area that of the organization that you want to learn more about or a project you want to be a part of, make sure you vocalize it.  Unfortunately, may times, supervisors of internship programs are unable to dedicate enough development and one-on-one time with their interns because they are also performing their other job duties.  All that means is that you need to take imitative as an intern and state what your interests are and ask to sit in meeting and talk to the people that are involved in the projects you want to learn more about.  The worst your supervisor can say is no!  Remember, just because the word “super” is in the word supervisor doesn’t make them a superhero that can read your mind.  Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want!  (Just make sure it doesn’t impede the duties you signed on to perform.)

“Remember, just because the word “super” is in the word supervisor doesn’t make them a superhero that can read your mind.  Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want!”

4)  Try to experience everything you can!  I understand how hard it can be to have an unpaid internship, classes, and another job- but don’t let that stop you from making the most of your internship experience.  At the end of the day, despite the project you were given and the tasks you were assigned, it is up to you to dictate the level of involvement you had at the organization.  When the place you’re working for is hosting events- go to them!  When your supervisor invites you to accompany s/he to an educational lecture they’re attending on marketing- go with them!  When the whole staff is attending a partner organization’s event after hours- go with them!  You never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll learn.

5)  My final tip is to be present!  Whether or not you see yourself working for that company in the future or whether or not there’s a potential job opening that you may be interested in, make sure you come to work prepared, professional, and present.  Being present is more than just showing up on time and going through the motions.  Being present is about taking in everything around, all the stimuli, processing it, and appropriately responding to it.  Make the organization you’re interning for hate to let you go!  Give them a reason to want to keep you or at least give you a glowing recommendation at the end of your internship.  I can tell you from first-hand experience that this works.  At the end of my marketing & communications internship with Visit Bucks County, the organization created a temporary assignment for me until they could open a full-time, salaried position that they thought I would be a good fit for because I showed them that I would be an asset to the team- and I did that while I was an intern.  So I promise, it’s possible, you just have to put in the effort from the beginning!

Hopefully one, if not all of these tips help you make the most of your internship experiences.  I’ve had several over the years and I’d be more than happy to talk to you about them, just leave me comment below!

All my best,

AlexandraMottershead.com