With the passing of Steve Jobs, I thought I would add to the montage of tributes and write a piece on what I learned about branding from Steve Jobs and how it can apply to one’s career search.
Keep it Simple: Quick, think of Steve Jobs at one of his product launches – what is he wearing? Most of us would be able to recall an image of blue jeans and black long sleeve t-shirt. The guy must have owned 20 black shirts, he always seemed to be wearing one in public. Keeping it simple was not just a fashion statement, think about the products he launched – IPod, IPad – they have few buttons, just a basic user interface. An interface so simple, even a child could use it.
When one thinks of his/her personal brand, remember to keep the message simple. What can you offer an employer? In what areas are you strong? Does the brand work for the end-user (employer/hiring manager)?
Make it Memorable: Take this fun memory quiz from Sporcle and see how many Corporate Logos you know. Over 97% knew Apple’s logo – other popular brand logos (95%+) were Nike, Microsoft, Playboy, Honda, Pepsi, Shell, and McDonalds. Boeing? Only 14% could identify the logo. Adobe, Safeway, Guinness, and Anheuser-Busch, all under 40% recognition.
Make your brand memorable by crafting a unique statement that is easy to remember. If your personal brand is overly generic, it will be forgotten as soon as it is learned; if it is overly complicated/long, it will never be forgotten as it won’t be learned. The Apple brand is simple and memorable, it also helps that the image is tied to the name.
Stay On Message: In the world of branding, there is a constant push to stay “on message” – in other words, be consistent with what you are saying and communicating. Nike’s swoosh has nothing to do with sneakers or the Greek goddess, Nike, but it is used so consistently that it is one of the most recognizable brands in the world (99.4 % of Sporcle users knew the swoosh – not sure what happened to the other 0.6%).
One must be consistent in one’s personal brand – who are you and what can you offer? One must own, embrace, and promote one’s brand or run the risk of trying to have multiple personalities!
Take a look at the evolution of these 20 brand logos, over time, most have stayed true to its roots (Ford and GE logos have seen little change in the past 100 years), and changes have usually been made to simplify the brand (ex: Apple, Nike, or Mercedes). Embrace your brand and share it with the world!