Who Are You, And What Do You Want?
I’m wildly jazzed about a couple big projects I’m working on right now to make Aspyre Solutions a better overall experience for everyone. As many of you know, it all began a few years back as a career consulting company, dedicated mostly to coaching job seekers through the career transition process, and providing the right resume and search tools to help them achieve their objectives. As I started to talk, write and coach more and more around the idea of personal branding, it expanded more into coaching and branding services that reflected that need. And then in 2011 I responded to the growing evident need of my clients for help around making the transition away from traditional 9 to 5 employment scenarios, and creating career plans around freelancing, small business and independence. Career plans that could put them back in the driver’s seat, and resurrect the idea that work, lifestyle and creative passion can coexist under one brand.
The exciting thing about working with people in different areas of work life transition is that everyone brings something different to the table in terms of their interests, needs, challenges and vision. Kristina wants to transition out of her job in finance and start up her own business as a jewelry designer, something she’s pursued for years on the side without the confidence or intention of making it anything bigger, until now. Josh wants to scale back his full time job as at Art Director and instead focus on going the freelance route, selling himself under the brand of his own creative design studio. And Jen wants to leave the marketing job she’s been in for the better part of 4 years for something new, ideally within a company that offers a more creative environment.
I’m often thinking about the different people I serve as a business and career coach – from Kristina to Josh to Jen. As a business, it’s okay to have different target markets because you offer different targeted services and products which each offer their own unique value proposition to a specific audience (hiring managers included here). What it comes down to is the presentation of those different areas, and looking at how they fit into your brand as a whole. Does it make sense to package all of your services or skills together under the same brand, when they’re potentially serving different audiences?
Another way to look at it is from a user experience perspective. Combining all your services together might seem like a “something for everyone” beneficial approach. But the flip side of that is running the risk of watering down the value by confusing your audience around what your specialization is, and how it relates to their needs and interests. Whether they’re coming to your blog to read an article on a specific topic, reading your resume for specific experience, perusing your website for information on your products, or connecting with you on social media – what information is that person looking for? Are you giving them what they need specifically, or are you giving them too much or too little? A better approach: Something specific, for someone specific.
In taking a high-level look at my own brand, a recurring thought that I’ve had for sometime is that taking an “everything in one place” approach may be confusing my audience. There is a lot of overlap in my audience between folks interested in resources around career and job searching, and those interested in transitioning into starting a small business. It’s all under the umbrella of career change in general. But people starting a business don’t want to read about resumes, and people looking for job search advice don’t want to read about business planning.
The Solution: Breaking Out the Brand to Better Cater to the Differing Needs of my Audience Members
This month I’ll be launching an uber-exciting new creative endeavor called the Brooklyn Resume Studio, or BKLYNResumeStudio.com (not up yet), a full-service resume writing and personal brand building consultancy. I will essentially offer all of the same great products and services that are currently part of the Aspyre Solutions career consulting arm, but under a cool new name and a funky new website that stands on its own. The current website will continue to host my blog and cater to small business building and tools, coaching and resources for transitioning from employee to entrepreneur.
Career folks get all the career goodies and tools they need without the business stuff, and the small biz folks get more creative business and brand building love, sans the resume speak. Everybody wins! It’s a tie!
It’s easy to illustrate this point as I’m restrategizing on my own brand here, but I encourage some important points for all of us to take away and marinate on. Think about these two key areas in your marketing approach, whether your brand is one of personal or business nature:
Who Is Your Audience, and What Information Do They Want From You?
What are the different things that you bring to the table, and how are you positioning them? Do they fit cohesively together under one brand? As a job seeker, it’s not necessary to crowd your resume and LinkedIn profile with information on every job you’ve had, or every industry you’ve worked for. Tailor it to appeal to the needs, interests and opportunities of the audience at hand. If you’re a business brand, consider how the different products and services you offer are being presented, and are they taking away from one another by watering down the overall value?
Think About the Overall User Experience.
How are you delivering the information that your target audience has come to find, whether it’s on your resume, your website or your social media profiles? If they’re looking for your experience as a web designer, are they being bombarded with a resume peppered also with administrative qualifications that are no longer relevant? And as a business, if your prospective customers are looking to find out how you can help them lose weight, are they being immersed with tons of other information on your website and Twitter feed that doesn’t speak to their interests needs and challenges around nutrition and fitness?
At the end of the day, value is king, and value translates directly to money. It’s about providing value, as an employee, as a business and as a brand. It’s an intricate song and dance finding that exact balance that works best in attracting your audience, retaining their attention, and prompting them to want to invest in you. But above all else, finding that balance, doing that dance, and providing that value to people is what makes me love what I do.