This morning I gave my first lecture at the IULM University in Milan to students of the Master Degree in Marketing. I was very excited because I was going to teach right where my dad was Professor more than 20 years ago!
After some assumptions about Personal Branding and why it is worth developing it even (and perhaps especially) for students ready for their first job, my collaborator Germana Galleri has pulled out the Personal Branding Canvases and started to hang them on the wall… Curiosity spread immediately among the seats. The students had already heard of the Business Model Canvas!
Once I had explained the method to them, even with a practical example (for the occasion it was bothered none other than the Personal Brand of Beckham), we put them to work immediately on their AS-IS status.
The reactions were varied: some students began to fill the blocks with as many concepts as possible, whereas some were more intimidated by the blank page and managed only one or two Post-its for each block before becoming stymied.
The Personal Branding Canvas works as a framework, so I just had to give a few tips on what to really take into consideration (their competences, their own credentials…) and to make them pay more attention to the driving questions in the Canvas and the students were able to finish their first AS-IS prototype.
What makes you unique…
…is the reason for your success!
During the first part of the lesson (the outstanding thing about this way of running courses is that I show very few slides) I have shown the following video:
Damiano carried out a SWOT Analysis focusing on just one online gaming company as target and noted how some unique combinations in the blocks Identity, Offering (typically hard and soft skills) and Reasons to Believe could be attractive for just one clear opportunity: the imminent localization of the game into Italian market. For this chance, his strengths were very clear to him and could be located in the Offering block of the Canvas: he has good spoken English, is skilled in acting and in working with multimedia and has an in-depth knowledge of the world of online gaming and of the related Italian community. From the point of view of his Identity, being Italian and extroverted definitely counted. And in fact now he has got the job!
Using this example, some students have tried to position themselves for some specific, much desired, jobs and companies: they tried to highlight their relevant credentials and expertise and discussed as a group in order to identity possible communication strategies to get their attention. By the end of this first session approaching the instrument, many of them had discovered relevant skills and credentials that they were not aware of and the first step towards the creation of their Personal Brand has been made.
Business design for University placement
In the next lessons they will learn to extract additional skills to improve their Positioning. They will also do exercises to generate relevant online and offline content and to be found by potential employers or clients.
This is not the first time I have used the Canvas in a students class, but it is the first time I use it for students in their last year of a masters degree in marketing… and in fact I noticed a big difference: they were very competent at marketing and this helped me to speed up the process.
The experience taught me a lot and I am a bit sorry I could not apply Business Model You® too. By using these kind of visual tools, the students were able to bring their excellence and their creativity to the fore. Many told me they learned a valuable logic that now may seem abstract (many of them have no working experience), but that they will be able to use when they need it to seize a job opportunity not to be missed…