In the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire, Tom Cruise’s character famously implored his client to “help me help you!” (in addition to producing many, many other memorable quotes). How does this “Jerry Maguire moment” apply to personal branding? Your value proposition, hook and tag line should all work in unison to effectively communicate how you can add value to your customers’ and clients’ life (i.e. answering the question “What’s in it for them?”). Incorporating the “feeling dimension” boosts memorability. Let’s say you have done a great job fully building out the second “M” – Messaging – in your 4M strategy and landed an interview for your dream job. You’ve done your homework, read the 10K form, researched the linguistic dimensions of the target company,and created a situationally and environmentally appropriate value proposition. At the end of the interview, your potential future employer asks you “so, do you have any questions for me?”
One of the best such “candidate questions” I’ve ever encountered is Marc Cenedella’s “gold star” question. Specifically, Marc advises to ask “How can I help you get a gold star on your review next year?” This approach beautifully encapsulates a number of highly effective value communication principles. It shows a focus on making other people and the larger organization as a whole successful, acknowledges the “what’s in it for me” question and carries a broad, employer-focused value proposition.
You could slightly rephrase this question and use it in different contexts as an effective closing technique for meetings, kickoff or brainstorming sessions, etc. “How can I make sure that this project is a complete success three months from now?” “At the end of this rollout, what do you want your boss and your boss’s boss to think?” Take a few minutes to think of specific opportunities to apply the “gold star” question at home, school, or even in social settings. Please also feel free to post your own versions in the comment section below.
For help with creating your own value proposition “gold star” questions or to schedule your personal branding discovery session, please check the Personal Branding Services page.