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How To Differentiate YOU

How To Differentiate YOU

Let’s be honest …. the finance industry is largely homogenous.

Same products and solutions.
Same look and feel.

Just look at every bank’s website. Big dollars are invested in bank brands but ultimately it is difficult to distinguish which bank is different (or better) than the other.

Technology may play a role …. but so do people.

This will always be a RELATIONSHIP industry. Consumers and Businesses will choose those people they can trust to give them the right financial advice and guidance.

So how are you differentiating YOU?

The key to differentiating yourself and developing a personal brand is to understand what you want to HAVE and identify what you need to DO. How can you design a compelling personal brand without knowing your goals and what skills, behaviors and beliefs you’re trying to promote?

Before deciding who you need to be as a banker, you must be clear about your desired goals and activities.


1.  What Do You Want To HAVE

  • Acknowledge starting point
  • Set ambitious, specific targets
  • Make them timely
  • Ask yourself WHY?
  • Review periodically and be accountable

Be clear about what goals you are striving to achieve both professionally and personally. Write them down and commit to them. Understand WHY they are important to you and worth committing to.

Do you want to grow your clients? Do you want to develop your team? Do you want to earn greater rewards so you can enjoy better life experiences with your family?

What truly motivates you and will inspire you to develop your personal brand?


2.  What Do You Need To DO

  • Identify your target audience
  • List specific actions
  • Start today
  • Challenge limiting beliefs / Seek coaching
  • Ask yourself WHY?
  • Review periodically and be accountable

To achieve your goals, there is always an audience (target market) you need to impress. How well do you know your target audience and what they would like from you?

Create a plan of action that will help you impress your audience and achieve your goals. Prioritize specific monthly activities. Then further reflect upon how you can perform those activities better than anyone else.

Be clear about the specific skills, behaviors and beliefs you need to build your brand around.


3.  Who Do You Need To Be?

Now that you understand your desired goals and activities, you can further evolve your specific personal brand.

To be clear, developing your personal brand does NOT mean “pretending” to be someone you are not. It’s about “enhancing”  those qualities and skills that enable you to best represent yourself in a compelling manner to your target audience.

As Jeff Bezos the CEO of Amazon famously said:


Your Brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room


What do you want your target audience (specific prospects, work peers, your team, leaders, friends, family) to say about you and how do you want them to perceive you?

Here are four simple tips to help you develop your personal brand:


  • What characteristics and attributes do you need to HIGHLIGHT so you can achieve your goals?
  • Who is your role model?
  • Be Authentic – Confident – Be Unique – Be Memorable


Once again, to be clear, this tip is NOT encouraging you to be someone you are not. I am simply suggesting you consider what skills, behaviors and beliefs you need to further accentuate and highlight so you can be more compelling to your target audience and become more successful.

What successful person do you (and your target audience) admire and what skills, behaviors and beliefs do they consistently demonstrate? How would you describe their personal brand and can you authentically fit that description?

It is ok to create a label (tagline) for your personal brand – how would you describe yourself and how would you like to be described?

Do you want to be known as “another commercial banker that can help your business” or do you want to be “the manufacturing industry expert that has helped many local manufacturing firms grow and achieve greater prosperity for their owners and staff” ???


  • Be a subject matter expert
  • Research extensively
  • Demonstrate your knowledge


How well do you understand the goals, challenges and problems of your target market?

Are you well informed to offer advice and assistance beyond the products your bank offers or beyond the requirements of your role?

Would your target audience perceive you as a highly credible resource or simply another banker promoting loan and deposit solutions or another manager just trying to get the job done?

Invest time in intimately and comprehensively understanding your target market. Be genuinely interested in developing extensive knowledge that can better enlighten and assist your target market.


  • Promote yourself to your target audience
  • Create scripts and literature that highlights your specific brand
  • Seek meeting, speaking and publication opportunities


Words matter! Knowing what to say is the most compelling way to differentiate yourself and highlight your unique personal brand (value).

Start by creating scripts, dialogue, introductions and presentations that can help you better articulate what to say.

Rethink the way you introduce yourself at networking events. You are NOT simply your job title. Announce your personal brand (tagline).

Write interesting articles to engage and enlighten your target audience. Consider the many ways you can publish your words of wisdom – such as industry publications, newsletters, social media, etc.

Arrange meetings or seek speaking opportunities to share your extensive knowledge with your target market and impress them with your valuable advice.


  • What is your “Logo”?
  • How do you want to look and how do you want your audience to feel?
  • LinkedIn – Profile, Recommendations & Posts
  • Social Media, Website, Collateral


When we think of branding we usually think about how a company wants to look and feel – logos, taglines, colors, images, words, sounds, etc. There is usually a visual representation that distinguishes them.

In the finance industry, every bank has a brand but it is hard to distinguish their “look and feel”.

But not when it comes to personal branding. Besides the fact that we are all wonderfully unique looking human beings, there are many other ways you can display (show) your difference.

Do you look and sound relatable? How can you best represent your authentic brand? What “suit” will you wear?

How do you appear on social media, your website and your marketing collateral?

Remember to use images (great photos of you and with your target audience), words (compelling articles, descriptions, testimonials) and sounds (video clips of you, video testimonials, webinars) to distinguish the way you SHOW your personal brand.


There are many ways to show YOUR PERSONAL LOGO.

There are many ways to demonstrate YOUR UNIQUE PERSONAL BRAND.

It is quite easy to stand out in a crowded industry filled with homogenous bankers …. if you are willing to BE it, KNOW it, SAY it and SHOW it.

You work in an industry where you can achieve any career you desire and any personal goals you dream of. But this can only happen when you commit to developing your personal brand by enhancing your skills, behaviors and beliefs.

That’s how I went from “enthusiastic teller who loves helping branch customers with ALL their financial needs” in 1991 to “popular global banking coach who inspires bankers to achieve a better quality of life” in 2021 (see what I did there ?!?)

But during this process I never ever forgot to be my authentic self. I have consistently maintained a genuine desire to help others. I just learned how to package it better.

In a world of competing bank brands with little differentiation, your target audience is looking for a banker who can genuinely make a difference in their lives. Is that you? If so, then create an authentic brand that anyone would be willing to buy.


Watch my 13 minute coaching video below to learn more about how you can develop your personal brand.


Article written by Joe Micallef – Sales Strategist & Coach – Grow UP Sales. For more advice on how to develop your personal brand please email or visit the webpage

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