Entrepreneurs – Meet Sally
Identify a Brand
The term “brand” comes from the marketing and advertising world. Companies spend millions of dollars creating an easily recognizable brand for products and services. A brand can be thought of as the perception we have about a product or service.
Recently, the concept of brand has shifted to apply to people. Whether you are an entrepreneur trying to sell your services or an employee wanting a raise or looking for a new job, you project a brand or image.
An authentic personal brand or image is based on your authentic or core identity. Everyone has unique qualities and attributes that are marketable in a number of different ways. Being able to identify and articulate your personal brand and your value to a potential buyer is necessary for you to be successful.
One of the goals of the VISTa process is to help you connect to your authentic self. Authenticity is the expression of your core identity. Integrity is being true to yourself by expressing your core identity. All the activities you’ve completed up to now have helped you learn more about who you are and how to express yourself more effectively in the world.
As we will see in Sally’s story, understanding your brand can be a critical step for creating a profitable business. From the information in her Blueprint, Sally was able to clearly understand her strengths and lay the foundation for her new law practice.
Sally was a nurse in a large hospital who returned to school and became a lawyer. She wanted to go into private practice, specializing in family law, and focusing on divorce. Since she was new to her practice, she used the VISTa process to help her identify her Touchstones so she could create her personal Brand. You will find Sally’s Blueprint at www.vista-cards/manual/links.html Click on Sally’s Blueprint link.
Sally was achievement-driven, and loved to master new topics. One reason law school appealed to her was the challenge of seeing if she could get through it. As Sally looked at her first theme or Touchstone, she realized it was important to use her knowledge. She is at her best when she applies her knowledge to a chaotic situation. She likes to see herself as the prevailing calm in rough waters. She likes to be the one people can depend on when things get tough. From this place of strength, she also likes to be the one that others turn to for information and advice.
In the lower part of Sally’s Blueprint, she identified her process. From her Investigative cards, Sally saw that she loves to solve problems in a very analytical way. Whatever the situation, Sally will I-Gather Information-S, I-Analyze-S, I-Evaluate-S and I-Draw Conclusion-S. She tempers her strong reliance on intellectual processes with good doses of practical common sense. Once Sally feels confident in her conclusion, she is a force to be reckoned with. Both her competitive and assertive cards indicate she is not averse to fighting for what she believes is right.
At the top of Sally’s Blueprint she placed A-Idealist-T and E-Justice-V. She choose these to be her guiding or inspirations cards. She explained that she believes in fairness. When she senses an injustice, particularly to those who are helpless, she becomes a fighter. It is her Idealistic card that keeps her from becoming cynical in a tough world.
Her last Touchstone indicates the environments where Sally wants to use her strengths. Almost all of these are people cards. Sally likes to use her strengths to help people, but also to influence them. She acknowledged that she would never be happy using her strong intellectual SKILLS in an isolated way, by working in a laboratory, for example. She wants to be connected to people. She enjoys communicating and sharing herself with others. She wants to be where she can help people who need her as an ally and advocate.
Sally jokingly said her family sometimes views her as controlling. With her strong Touchstones, she acknowledges that this could be true. It also shows why she was drawn to both nursing and law. In both environments, Sally could use her great problem- solving SKILLS to help people who may be vulnerable and unable to fight for themselves.
From the Blueprint it was fairly easy for Sally to create her Brand. One aspect of Sally’s Brand is attributes. Sally’s attributes are her intellectual and analytical SKILLS. She uses her SKILLS to gather information then evaluate, synthesize and draw conclusions. She tempers these SKILLS with common sense and being practical. She uses her attributes to solve complex problems involving people.
Another aspect of Sally’s Brand is passion. Sally is passionate about providing justice to help people. When referring to justice, Sally means it in the broadest sense of the word. She believes in justice both for her clients in her law practice, but also that her patients in the hospital receive “justice” meaning the medical care they deserve. She is interested in empowering people by being an influence and/or teaching them what they need to know.
The final aspect of Sally’s Brand is her unique knowledge base. As an attorney, she uses her knowledge of the law. She specializes in the legal knowledge that levels the playing field between divorcing couples.
Sally is interested in helping people by being a strong advocate for them. As we discussed the components to her brand, Sally decided that while she can be a strong adversary, she would prefer to use her qualities to strengthen and empower her clients. This creates a subtle, but distinct difference in how Sally wants to practice law.
In going through this process, Sally was able to articulate her Brand by explaining that she wants “to provide the encouragement, tools and tactics that support and empower the client during the divorce process.” For the first time, Sally realized she wants to specialize in clients who are in a power disadvantage with their partner. The target market for her practice will be “people (mostly women) who feel out-gunned, out-maneuvered and out-powered by their spouses, [people] who want to level the playing field.”
The VISTa process helped Sally understand that her purpose is to “help the underdog,” whether in her profession as a nurse, as a lawyer or in the other aspects of her life. Professionally, she can reinvent herself around her Touchstones. Her primary themes are 1) a high standard of mastery and achievement that is passed onto others, 2) solving complex problems that serve to help the underdog through 3) using problem-solving skills that involve gathering and analyzing information, balanced against practicality and common sense. What initially appeared to be an odd career choice made complete sense to Sally once she was able to see her process.
All work is about solving problems. For an entrepreneur, understanding your Brand coupled with a specific target market are significant tools that make you distinct from your competition.
The VISTa process was able to help Sally create a literal blueprint for her professional practice by helping to articulate her Touchstones. From her Touchstones, Sally was able to identify her Purpose in life. From that information she was able to identify her target market and the unique Brand she can use to market herself. (As a side note, all of this information was acquired in one two-hour session!)