The 7 Parts of Your Professional Brand

Vogue fashion collage with models, shoes, bags, accessories
Image via Pinterest
Brands are all around us. We are fed marketing pitches, ideas and feelings on TV, social media, in magazines and across the internet. Marketing professionals use the 7 Ps of marketing to piece together a story that connects with key customers to help their companies sell products and make money. Each combination of product, price, promotion, place, packaging, positioning and people has the power to appeal to the senses and make you the next paying customer. 
Woman in power suit on desk in office
Just as companies use marketing to communicate a brand image, so can you. You can harness the power of the 7 Ps to create a professional brand that gets the attention of the right people, in the right place and at the right time. 
Feminine office flat lay with laptop, agenda and pen
Image Source: Styled Stock Society

Some may call this a personal brand which can also be true, but I'll refer to it as your professional brand since the goal of using this strategy will be to leverage your strengths and story to land the job of your dreams.
Women in suits at desk
The idea of professional branding may seem daunting, unnecessary or self-indulgent. However, given the variety of ways in which you, your image, words, resume, etc. can be viewed, a coherent professional brand strategy is necessary. It’s important that a potential employer see a consistent message whether they are meeting you in person, reading through your LinkedIn profile or doing a Google search with your name. 
Woman in blue fashionable power suit
Vogue UK
You have a brand, whether intentional or not. The choice to cultivate a brand you are proud of and one that truly represents you is a choice. 

Workwear style on NYC streets
W Magazine
Whether you are in college and beginning to build the foundation for a future career, searching for a new job or happily plugging along at work each day, a professional brand strategy can be a game changer. This isn’t just about filter selection for flow on your Instagram or setting your Facebook to private with a public- appropriate profile photo. Your strategy moves beyond these online presence basics to help you streamline your goals, articulate your platform and shape your career path. 
Woman on street in gold suit
So where to begin? That’s why I’m here to help. I’m going to break down each marketing concept from the 7 Ps and then apply it to professionall branding. So grab a pen and some paper and let’s get started!

notes, flowers, earbuds, clipboard, pen, pretty office, feminine office
The central concept that any marketer must start with is the product, which in some cases is a service. Without a product, there is nothing to sell and no reason for the company to exist. A good product solves a problem and meets a need for a particular customer. Without a customer that needs the product, the product no longer matters and becomes obsolete. Kylie jenner modeling eye makeup                    Via Instagram @kyliejenner
Think about Kylie Jenner and her product offering. She has built a beauty brand and uses social media to position herself as the face of the product. Her pictures feature her wearing makeup and trying techniques that entice her audience to buy. She positions herself and her products as the solution to the ever present question of how to look and feel beautiful. 
Kylie Jenner Summer 2019 lipstick collection
Via Instagram @kyliejenner
What is your product? Think about what you have to offer a company in terms of skills, education, personality and experience. Based on how you answered the first question, think about the types of companies that would be interested in your product offering. These companies are your customers. As we go through the 7 Ps, it’s important to always keep your customer in mind since they are your target market. 

Once a company knows what product they are going to sell, they must decide on what price to charge. A low priced item may fall into the discount or bargain category, while higher priced items can often qualify as premium or luxury. To convince customers to buy, particularly when priced higher, the product must meet certain criteria and expectations. High quality, a strong reputation and consistency are all ways that companies can convince customers to pay more. 
Kim Kardashian in elegant and romantic dress
Via Instagram @kimkardashian
Let’s stick with the Kardashian clan for another example as we consider price. Kim Kardashian can charge premium prices because of the brand she has built. For years, she has consistently allowed the public (her customers) a glimpse into her life and world using reality TV and social media. Because of the relationship she has formed with her followers, she can demand higher prices for product endorsements and placements on social media platforms.  
Kim Kardashian wearing suit and sunglasses
Via Instagram @kimkardashian
What’s your price? In the case of the job search, this is the salary you are seeking. Consider your product from the first section with things like experience and education as  the initial factors in determining price. Other variables that impact your requested salary may also include the city where the job is located, cost of living, the type of job, the job duties and whether or not the position is hard to fill. Great resources for salary research include LinkedIn, Salary.com, Payscale.com and the US Department of Labor.  

 
When companies want to tell the world about their products, they use promotion. Promotion is a form of communication that may include TV, social media, print publications or radio. To be effective, the communication must be aimed at the target customers to meet them where they already are located. 
Taylor Swift in sequins and butterfly heels
Via Instagram @taylorswift
When thinking of promotion for a personal brand, Taylor Swift is a prime example because of her knack for self-promotion. She consistently uses platforms like Instagram as a window into her life and brand through imagery and content. The content balances promotion of her product (new music, concerts, etc.) with promotion of who she is off-stage with pictures of her cats, time at home, glimpses backstage, etc. By posting this type of content, Taylor provides a means of connection, conversation and conversion--where she gets and keeps fans. 
Taylor Swift Lover artwork
Via Instagram @taylorswift
Based on your dream job and target organizations, what ways can you promote your story and skills? Think about how you can communicate your key message and product offering, as well as where you can do this communicating. LinkedIn is a great platform to present your online resume with skills and experiences. You can connect with a network of people, companies and causes, get endorsed by others for key skills and present your ideas by publishing articles. Promotion of your professional brand also extended to other social media platforms. So don’t forget to keep your messages and imagery consistent.  

Companies always have to think about where their product will be sold. Is it going to sit on a store shelf? Will it be in a uniquely branded boutique? Is it online only? Product placement affects the brand image, price that can be charged and clientele it will reach. You won’t find a Chanel bag in a Home Depot store. Why? Because the place does not match the product. The Chanel brand tells us that its premium bags will be found in luxurious Chanel boutiques where there is only the scent of Chanel No. 5, not sawdust. 
Meghan Markle in white mini dress
Meghan Markle in 2013 via Hello Magazine
Meghan Markle’s brand has transitioned from the red carpet to the royal palace. As an actress, fans could find her at red carpet events, using her personal social media or on her blog. Now that she is the royal Duchess of Sussex, her placement has changed. She can now be found at the palace and royal functions. Her shift in product offering and brand required a change in placement. 
Meghan Markle in white pillbox hat
Meghan Markle via Meghan's Mirror
Where can future employers find your product? Just like LinkedIn can be a tool for promotion, it is also a part of placement. It’s not possible to meet every potential employer in person, so having all of your amazing assets detailed on your LinkedIn profile will help ensure you can be found. 

But you aren’t limited to the digital space. You can also place yourself in front of potential references, mentors and employers by participating in networking events. These could be sponsored by your college, your alma mater through alumni chapters or even at your current employer with social events. Getting involved in your community is also a nice outlet to make a difference while connecting with others that could be a link to your dream job.  

Everything you see for a product--its protective padding, box, shopping bag--is part of the packaging. These elements come together to create a visual representation of the brand. The packaging becomes an extension of the product itself. 
Lady Gaga outfit changes at met gala
Lady Gaga at the Met Gala 2019 via Time Magazine
Lady Gaga has built her brand using her personal style as performance art. She often makes headlines with fashion choices that include wardrobe changes, bubbles, vibrant colors, strong silhouettes and sky high heels. She packages herself in unique and eye popping ways that help shape the public’s perception of her as an artist and performer. 
Lady Gaga hair and makeup closeup
Lady Gaga The Met Gala 2019 via Life and Style Magazine 
How are you packaging yourself to communicate your professional brand?  In the case of a professional brand, the packaging is primarily how you look as a combination of hair, makeup, clothing and shoes. Executive women of the 1980s chose to wear shoulder pads and power suits. Why? Because it became part of their packaging as they worked to break through the glass ceiling in the corporate world. There are an infinite number of possibilities when designing your branded personal packaging. Rather than feel confined to particular style, find brands, silhouettes, colors and textures that still support what you stand for. Together, these choices can help others understand the essence of your personality, spirit and the total package of who you are. 

 
As the other Ps are defined by companies, they contribute to the P of positioning. Companies position their products to be interpreted and understood in certain ways. Because of things like promotion (how messages are communicated) and packaging, products get certain positions. Positioning connects products with certain words and ideas. Products might be positioned to seem affordable, reliable, unique, beautiful or luxurious. 
Michelle Obama in J. Crew pencil skirt and blouse
Michelle Obama in J. Crew pencil skirt via The Cut
During her time in the White House as the First Lady, Michelle Obama became known for approachability, education and health. She became associated with these ideas through things like her affordable yet chic fashion choices from J. Crew and by spearheading programs like Let Girls Learn and Let’s Move! while she was in the White House. 
Michelle Obama with Let Girls Learn
Michelle Obama with Let Girls Learns via The White House
What words do people think of when you come up in conversation? Are you the hard worker? The idea generator? The problem solver? Your position can be crafted through your experiences, references, online branding and personal demeanor. Consider what position you want to be known for and then take time to make sure your resumé and LinkedIn profile align with key words from your position. 

Every company is made up of people. Each person plays a role that helps create the product or support the processes that make the product possible. The human resources manager recruits and hires, while the engineer creates the product, the IT specialist troubleshoots the website and the public relations director maintains communication with media and the public. Without roles like these, the company would fail to function at such a high level.
Beyonce on stage in college themed outfit
Beyoncé Coachella 2018 via Oprah Magazine 
Members of the Beyhive understand the concept of people. Beyoncé’s fans are devoted to their Queen Bey and are quick to support her on social media or by showing up in full force at her performances. These people play a role in building a community of fans, spreading her message and supporting the brand of Beyoncé
Beyonce with fans
Beyoncé with fans via The Gazette 
Who are your people? This isn’t about the girlfriends you watch The Bachelor with every Monday, but rather the network of individuals you have connected with so that they know you, your skills and what you can offer. This could be a boss, mentor, co-workers, references from previous internships or jobs, or a career coach. Each person has the power to play a role in your career journey. 


Woman answering telephone
So there you have it, the 7Ps of marketing. Hopefully you took notes or even started jotting down some ideas for your personal brand. Now comes the challenge, applying the 7Ps and treating them as the 7 parts of your personal brand. 

Take time to consider the examples of women applying the Ps to their careers and the questions for each P to help you craft the message of your brand. It’ll take work, but by investing in your professional brand you are taking control and taking one step closer to your dream job. 

Women in work attire walking on street


Sources and Further Reading: 
Images not labeled above via Vogue "Working' 9 to 5...in the Vogue Office!"
Entrepreneur.com: "The 7 Ps of Marketing"

No comments