the brand of you | the four v’s of branding


Here’s the Cindy Ratzlaff quick branding MBA in a nutshell. You are a brand whether you’re a student looking for that first job out of school or an entrepreneur creating a product in your home office or an author about to publish your first book. You, the person, are a brand. When you understand that one simple truth, you can purposefully plan how to communicate your brand promise to the world.

The four V’s of branding are essential elements to consider when creating and communicating your brand.

Your voice is your message and your tone. Think about how you want your brand to be perceived and experienced. Create a short list of three words that clearly lay out your tone. Are you sharp, fast, and pointed? Are you or your product smooth, easy and effective? Will you make your customers life stress-free, unburdened and organized? Choose your words, try them on for size and make sure they convey your brand promise.

Now that you know your tone of voice, turn your attention to the look. Consumers have different learning styles. Some will immediately respond to your voice. Others will be swayed by your visual appeal. Match your imagery to your message to reinforce your brand promise. Remember that your brand promise begins with you, so invest in quality professional photography to put your best face forward in social media and on the web in general. When you meet clients, employers, or colleagues who have only known you on line, you want to hear, “I recognized you from your social media avatar,” not “Wow, you look so different from your picture.” A professional looking picture engenders confidence in your potential to solve a customer’s problem and that’s really what all brands do; solve a problem.

Make sure that you know the competitive landscape for your product or service in your arena. Design your offerings, your desired salary or your product price to reflect true market value. Understanding your potential customer’s most urgent needs will help you here. In social media implementation, for example, clients can be expected pay more for campaigns that are a rush and a more reasonable rate if they’ve planned ahead. Price your services based on time and experience needed, resources required and fair market value.

Your service or product variation is your point of differentiation. How do you or your product differ from every other product or service that is offered? Some points of differentiation might be affordability, location, education, experience, testimonials, first to market, or fame. Spend time creating your list of ways in which you and your product can answer this question from your potential customer. “Why should I buy this product or service from you instead of someone else?”

Using the Four V’s to plan your brand strategy will keep you focused, honest with yourself and help you identify your personal brand strengths.

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8 Responses to “The Brand of You | The Four V’s of Branding”

  1. Hello Cindy,

    Congratulations on your very interesting article. I agree consumers have different learning styles and creating a multiple impact on their perception is a clever answer. Using the Four V’s to plan a brand strategy contributes in a multiple way in the strong building of the personal brand identity through different layers. Also, both the brand and the potential customers end with the same clear expectations and understanding as a result. I agree these Four V’s shine a light on a very smart way to convey a brand message and add to a healthy business relationship.
    To your continued fabulous success,


  2. Thank you so much, Christiane, for taking the time to comment here. Brand messaging and imagery are so important. By commenting, you’ve given me the opportunity to point out another smart strategy; adding to the discussion on blogs. By adding to the discussion on a blog or group page, one increases their own visibility, represents their own brand as active and engaged, and adds information for the entire group. Well done and thank you!

  3. Your “four V’s of branding”, welcome each of us to explore the person we are Cindy, open our selves to the promise of our gifts, be our own CEO, and take the steps to put a glow on all 4 facets of our human potential.

    Christiane adds value to this empowering post validating both of your brands.

    Might I accentuate the point that when we consciously develop our voice, visions, value and variations, we become a mirror attracting the glowing voice, visions, value and variable actions of our associates.
    Thank you for sharing your vibrant gifts,
    Mary Margaret

  4. Very true Mary and thank you for your comment. The foundations of attraction marketing is important in personal branding. After all, we all want to attract the best possible colleagues, friends, clients and community possible. That’s how we build a business that’s not only profitable, but a joy to manage.

  5. Sarah Mitus says:

    When linking to your site this morning, I realized you had posted about this topic as well! I thought this was a great way to transfer for the 4 P’s of Marketing (we like to call them 3P’s and a D) Price, Product, Promotion & Distribution to a more personal sense. Exercises like this should indeed be short like this, so that you don’t have a lot of time to think about it and what is really true comes to mind. Thanks again for coming to the Villanova WiB Conference!

  6. […] for “Find Our Core Unique Service.”  Figuring this out helps companies address one of the four key elements of branding; variation.  Asking the tough questions, doing the research and creating clear, concise […]

  7. Fowara says:

    I thought your drift fromt he 4 P’s were wonderful. In the most basic form of marketing, you have to know about the 4 P’s. But I have always thought the they were a little ambiguous. Your use of the 4 V’s were a little more insightful than either the 4 P’s and the more recent 4 C’s.

  8. Thanks Team Fowara. I like explaining marketing in this way because it speaks to me and people have such different learning styles, I thought I’d shake it up a bit and add my own unique twist to get my point across.

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