LMU’s College of Business Administration welcomed marketing consultant and brand strategist Kevin Susman on July 31 as part of its popular Business Exchange seminar series. Susman is founder of StormCellar, a boutique narrative marketing consultancy and creative production company with big name clients like Microsoft and Nickelodeon. With nearly 100 LMU students, alumni and local industry professionals in attendance, Susman’s lively and interactive WHY MATTERS workshop focused on how to build a better personal brand.
To be successful in the marketplace, brands must effectively communicate to potential customers the answers to why – why they are relevant, why they are essential, and why they exist. The same is true for individuals. In the workshop, participants were challenged to apply these same market-proven brand-building strategies to themselves – helping them to rethink, reconstruct and recommit to the development and communication of their personal brands.
Susman helped participants to identify and express their personal value propositions, customer benefits and big ideas, equipping them with new ways to hone and improve the way they think about, and share, their personal brands. After a brief introduction and explanation of the differences between ‘product’ and ‘brand’, Susman asked participants to pair up with a partner and gave them 30 seconds to list as many personal value propositions as they could. A majority of participants said it made them feel uncomfortable discussing their top professional qualities.
When crafting a resume or participating in a job interview, Susman says it’s extremely important to come prepared with your top personal value propositions and how those propositions have enhanced your company or customer. He advises against hyping yourself up too much by using superlatives – it can be a big turnoff for potential employers.
After several more rounds of teaming up with their partners, participants had a clearer understanding of what they needed to identify in order to have a stronger personal brand.
“People aren’t going to walk away after two hours with an amazing elevator pitch,” said Susman. “My goal is to get people to start thinking about their own personal brand narratives and give them tips on how they can develop them to enhance their future success.”
LMU Business Exchange events are organized by Professor Charlie Vance and scheduled several times a year.