What’s your tagline?

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By Michelle LaBrosse

With the explosion of social media, you’re hearing a lot about personal brands again. Now, Andy Warhol’s infamous 15 minutes of fame is a reality for anyone who can upload a video to YouTube or create a blog.

However, as a project manager, when I think of personal brands, I like to think about it in terms of how people experience you. What do people think about you? What’s your reputation?

Because it’s the start of a new year, let’s turn those questions around. How do you want people to think of you? What do you want your tagline to be? If you think about what you want to accomplish this year, what is your mantra?

Think of a word or a tagline that will inspire you this year. Some people like the clarity of a single word like Simplify. Others get more inspired by a tagline like Nike’s famous Just Do It.

My tagline for the year is Energize because I plan to wrap up my first round of energy self-sufficiency projects around the country as part of my Cheetah Power initiative. I also need to keep my energy high for all the Cheetahs around the world who are practicing fast and fantastic project management.

In a survey conducted by taglineguru.com, here are their top 10 taglines to get your creative engines roaring:

  1. Got Milk? – California Milk Processor Board (1993)
  2. Don’t leave home without it. – American Express (1975)
  3. Just do it. – Nike (1988)
  4. Where’s the beef? – Wendy’s (1984)
  5. Think different. – Apple Computer (1998)
  6. We try harder. – Avis (1962)
  7. Tastes great, less filling. – Miller Lite (1974)
  8. Melts in your mouth, not in your hands. – M&M Candies (1954)
  9. You’re in good hands with Allstate. – Allstate Insurance (1956)
  10. Takes a licking and keeps on ticking. – Timex (1956)

Once you have your tagline, bring it to life

Write your tagline down or create a simple graphic of it, and post it where you can see it. What we can visualize, we can make happen.

Think of three to five specific behaviors you need to model for your tagline to be experienced by others. For example, if your tagline is Simplify, what are you going to do so people can experience you as someone who simplifies things? Are you going to create agendas and e-mail them at the start of a meeting? Are you going to come up with a new way for your team to collaborate online? Are you going to be a rallying cry and driver for getting rid of time-wasting tasks?

Build into your year four things (one for each quarter) that would be significant achievements underneath the mantle of your tagline. If Simplify is my tagline, I might donate to the Salvation Army or a local charity all the things I no longer use.

When you’re writing a project plan, ask yourself what you might include in your plan to show your tagline in motion.

Make it tangible and have fun with it

Your tagline is really a tangible way to motivate yourself to be the person and project manager you want to be. We all write resolutions, but the key is finding the way to motivate ourselves long after the ball drops. Try the tagline, and see how it works for you in 2010.

E-mail me your taglines for 2010 and I’ll post the best ones on my blog.

About the author:

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP®, is an entrepreneur, founder of Cheetah Learning, author of the Cheetah Success Series, and blogger. She is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Owner President Manager’s (OPM) program and also holds engineering degrees from Syracuse University and the University of Dayton.

About Cheetah Learning and the Know How Network:

The Know How Network is a monthly column, written by Michelle LaBrosse, is distributed to hundreds of newsletters and media outlets around the world. Cheetah Learning is a virtual company with 100 employees, contractors, and licensees worldwide. Visit www.cheetahlearning.com to learn more about Cheetah PM, the fastest way to learn about Project Management and get your PMP. You can also get your career in gear with CheetahWare, free Project Management tools. Recently honored by the Project Management Institute (PMI®), Cheetah Learning was named Professional Development Provider of the Year at the 2008 PMI® Global Congress. A dynamic keynote speaker and industry thought leader, Michelle was previously recognized by PMI as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the world. PMP is a registered trademark of the Project Management Institute.

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