Do Not Settle For The First Car Insurance Quote You Obtain

If you are shopping around for a new motor vehicle, your purchase need to go hand in hand with acquiring a car insurance quote. As soon as you drive your new vehicle off the dealership’s floor you are at risk of getting in an accident or you can be hijacked on your way home, consequently you have to have your car insurance policy in place previous to getting behind the controls of your car for the very first time.There are many variables that would influence the car insurance quote that you will obtain. Causes such as your age, gender and driving history are all examples of such variables. The price of the car in question will also play a role, as will the number of nominated drivers on the vehicle.Never settle for the first car insurance quote you receive. Try to contrast and compare as many quotes as possible – no less than three or five. In case you are uncertain about the terms and conditions associated with your policy, make certain to discuss this with your insurance agent or insurance broker prior to signing your contract.One of the points that may perhaps result in a lower car insurance quote is opting for a higher excess amount. An excess amount is essentially the difference between the price for repairing your vehicle and the amount that the insurance company is willing to pay. Say for instance you must repair your bumper after a small accident and the repair price is R10 000. The insurance company agrees to pay R8 000. Your excess amount (payable by you!) is then R2 000. The greater your voluntary excess amount, the lower your associated premiums (usually!). Just be careful that you do not pick such a high excess amount that you would not be in a position to honour the payment when it is time to put in a claim!Also keep in mind that your car insurance quote will typically only give you an indication of your first year’s premiums. An essential issue to remember is that your insurance premium is likely to increase on a yearly basis. You might be thinking that this is not making sense, as the value of your car is in fact decreasing year after year and thus the insurance providers’s subsequent risk is lower. On the one hand that is true, but remember that the cost for repairing your vehicle (parts and labour) increase every year and insurance firms have to cater for this increased cost by increasing your premiums.Often times an insurance business will provide a car insurance quote, but your insurance policy will only be activated as soon as you’ve taken your vehicle for an inspection. These inspections are necessary as insurance firms must make certain that you are not trying to insure a car with an existing problem and that all the security features (such as an alarm system, immobilizer etc) stipulated on the contract are indeed in place.Obtaining a car insurance quote is really not difficult. Research your options, compare a couple of quotations and make an informed decision.

Personal Branding: The Lighthouse Branding Model

More and more people are talking about the importance of personal branding, both in career searching and in career development. Effective personal branding not only makes you stand out from the crowd to employers and recruiters, it can also increase your job security by communicating your value as a leader and team player to your organization.

What is personal branding?

Personal branding is the process of identifying the unique and differentiating value that you bring to an organization, team and/or project and communicating it in a professionally memorable and consistent manner in all of your actions, both online and offline, to all current and prospective stakeholders in your career.

The Lighthouse Personal Branding Model

The lighthouse is a great model for breaking down the branding process into four key steps: the foundation, the beacon, the tower and the beam.

Foundation:

Your foundation is your unarguable strengths and experience in your chosen area. To identify your own foundation, write down the strengths that differentiate you from the rest and ask your friends, family and colleagues/managers to do the same for you. Identify the top three to five overlapping strengths that support the career direction you want to pursue.

Beacon:

Your beacon is the memorable and consistent communication of your strengths and experience. Now that you have identified your foundation, it’s time to create your beacon by finding a word or phrase that represents these strengths and can become your brand. Develop a short pitch that can follow your brand, describing your strengths in more detail. Ensure that your word or phrase is versatile and can change with your direction.

Tower:

Simply put, your tower is your visibility, reach and presentation, both online and offline, which support the beacon. This is really everything you do to proactively build your personal brand. The higher you build your tower with your efforts, the more visible you will be to potential career stakeholders. Here are some ways to proactively build your brand and credibility in front of your target audience:

Create a LinkedIn profile and follow the suggested steps to complete your profile 100 percent, making sure you include your personal brand and pitch in your subtitle and summary sections.

Create a Google account and profile for improved search engine optimization.

Include your personal brand on your resume, cover letter, business cards, email signature, voicemail message and across your other social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook.

Consider creating a personal website/blog site where you can house all of your information, including experience, education, skills, honors, entrepreneurial efforts and more.

Start your own blog with a unique point of view on your industry/area of interest.

Contribute value in your book or product reviews, your tweets, your comments on other blog posts, your own blog articles or articles for print publications, your discussions in LinkedIn Groups and your advice via LinkedIn Answers or other forums.

Start a company full-time or on the side with relevant and valuable products/services/resources for the industry.

Publish and offer print and/or electronic publications.

Get quoted in the media by joining HARO (Help a Reporter Out) and contributing advice, experiences and insights to writers and journalists seeking expert sources.
Beam:

Your beam is your career direction and more active personal branding and career search strategy. It involves you gaining and projecting a strong understanding of where you want to go, what you want to pursue and how you will pursue it. First, you need to determine what functional area, geography and industries/companies you want to target. Then, you need to actively network your brand with potential career stakeholders. Here are some ways to start:

Join associations or networking groups within your industry and attend events to meet new contacts and build your target network. Be sure to share your personal brand with those new contacts.

Conduct informational interviews with target network contacts (whether or not you’re seeking a job) and share your personal brand with them in your introductions.

Find ways to bring fellow industry thought leaders together on a project or at an event.

Find ways to contribute to the projects or events of fellow industry experts.

Get recommended on LinkedIn and display testimonials from customers, clients and partners
Personal Application

I used this model to help develop my own personal brand during my MBA career search. Having identified my foundation to be my endless energy, out-of-the-box creativity, relationship building and problem solving, I looked for a word that could pull all of those strengths together into one memorable brand message. The beacon I chose was “generator” as I generate energy, creativity, relationships and solutions to problems. I was pursuing a career in marketing and brand management, and therefore, I became a brand and marketing generator. I proactively built my tower by incorporating my brand directly into my online profiles, my resumes and my entrepreneurial efforts. I then took a more active approach, targeting the “beam” by incorporating my personal brand in my interview responses, networking introductions and informational interview outreach. It was this process that helped me successfully secure my current employment, and this model continues to help guide all of my professional and entrepreneurial ventures.

Defining YOUR Personal Brand Image

Branding, creating, and maintaining your personal image can be a powerful tool in helping you become the type of professional that you want to be. But, why would someone want to brand themselves? Think about this in the way that you would think about how to market any product. If you were to market a new car you may talk about the cars features, such as gas mileage or how safe it is. You would also figure out who you are trying to market this car to. For instance, you would not want to market a two-door sports car to large family of six. Finally, when marketing a car, you will want to tell clients about the promises and guarantees that will separate this car from others like it. The style of marketing your personal brand is very similar.

You must market yourself by highlighting your individual features and emphasizing them to your potential managers and employers. You must know who in particular you are trying to target with your brand. And finally, what your individual brand message is and what you promise to accomplish in your occupation. By marketing yourself as a unique individual, knowing your target audience, and creating and maintaining your personal brand message and promise, you can develop a strong professional brand image. It is important to know who you are and what your existing personal brand is in order to further develop your image. Particularly, what makes you, you. By staying true to yourself first, you can begin to move your brand forward. Think about your personal beliefs and what type of person you are. These are the things that make you, you. Do not try to change who you are in order to develop an image. If you change and adapt who you are to create an image, you are not creating a personal brand image, but rather a generic brand image that will not allow you to emphasize what you offer specifically and on an individual level. Rather, you must grow your brand image from what you already possess. Focus on what makes you who you are and develop a professional brand image based on these existing attributes.

Once you have defined this personal existing brand, you can begin to address how you can make your brand different, set yourself apart, and grow your own unique brand image. For instance, what do you offer as a professional, and what can you bring to others? What are the skills that you possess that set you apart from the competition? These are the things that will make you stand out from others around you and positively grow your personal brand image. A positive attitude and confidence in your abilities and what you know you are capable of achieving are the first steps to developing your own unique and specific personal brand. Along with your individual attributes, it is important to develop skills that will help to set you apart from others around you. Focus on what you will do to go above and beyond the competition. This will help you to create that unique brand image that will take potential clients from possibly needing your services, to them wanting the services and skills that they know you offer. It is also important to focus on strong communication skills with your potential clients. This can be a positive step to boosting your personal brand by creating a strong relationship between yourself and your clientele, and will also help you to maintain this positive relationship.

Your unique personal brand image will set you apart from the competition for resources and help you to grow relationship that will last a lifetime. Finally, when developing your individual brand image, it is key to know what your message will be and what promises you can offer. You must put into place your personal brand values. These values are what services you can bring to your work situation and what you can achieve. Your message must focus on what you specialize in, what attributes in your unique brand image distinguish you from the rest, and your leadership abilities. This brand message will allow your potential clients to see who you are and know what they will receive from you and your work. Clients must also be able to see what your brands’ promise is to them. Your brand promise should focus on your commitment to service, what you can achieve for the potential customer, and finally, your individual reputation. It is also important to communicate to clients that you may not be perfect. Be honest with them. If mistakes have been made in the past, use these as a promise to clients that the mistake has been addressed, learned from, and will not happen in the future.

By creating your individual brand image, you are taking the most important step to success. Look at who you are as an individual, focus on what your unique abilities are, separate yourself from the competition around you, and maintain your brand through a commitment to service. Through these steps you can create and maintain a strong brand image that can lead to future benefits and success in your career.