A personal brand is the practice of marketing yourself and your career as a brand. A well-executed personal brand is strong, consistent and specific. It encompasses all of the fine details which address the first impression to the follow up and beyond. Personal branding is common among celebrities, politicians and sports figures. Think of Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran, or the jazz styling of Michael Bublé, also the Virgin mogul Richard Branson. Each has a reputation for their established and consistent personal brand, and they top it off with their signature look—a look in alignment with their branding, marketing, etc. and you better believe it’s by design.
Key 1 to a Profitable Personal Brand is a Strong Foundation. The strong foundation of a personal brand consists of three elements and the ability to consistently and cohesively apply them throughout your brand.
Define Who You Are
First, understand who you are as an individual and brand. Of course, you are dynamic and changing, but there are things you have always loved and always will love. You want to be as authentic as possible. Get clarity on who you are and what makes you unique and compelling. Then you can craft your personal vision statement, an aspirational description of what you want to accomplish in the mid-term or long-term future. These ‘definitions’ were the cornerstone in creating my own personal vision statement, are woven throughout the specific language I use when writing a blog, social media posts and the personal examples I share from the stage. Defining who you are allows you to lead naturally. For example, I am an artist. I am an outgoing introvert. I am passionate and heart-centered. I love dogs, country music and reading. I am also open-hearted, compassionate, playful and have a childlike curiosity. These ‘definitions’ of me are woven throughout the specific language I use when writing a blog, the posts I make on social media and the personal examples I share from the stage.
Decide What You Value Most
Try as we might, we will never escape our values, many of which are instilled in us during our formative years. Your values define you in an even deeper way as they are the most important things in your life. Consider the people, experiences and emotions that fulfill and drive you the most, and you will find your values there. Discerning your values helps you tap into a more heightened and authentic Personal Brand.
My top values include: Family, friends, passion, faith, hard work, health. I value a lifestyle that allows for service, fun and quiet time. I create my work life around my personal life, rather than the other way around. These values are clear throughout my brand. For example; I share about my family and philanthropic organizations in my bio and highlight my values of quiet time through my content.
Ask For Feedback
Feedback is a valuable tool to craft your personal brand. Of course, you want to seek guidance from a trusted professional, but you can also reach out to others for their take on what you represent. They will see things that you don’t and can help you eliminate your blind spots.
Here’s an exercise I give my clients. It’s called 5 & 5. Think of 5 individuals who may be business colleagues, clients, or simply acquaintances, but people who are able to be objective. That way you’ll be getting a clear picture about how you’re being perceived. Ask them to describe you using 5 adjectives. Some examples might be: smart, professional, funny, engaging, down- to-earth. OR: in-the-know, passionate, strategic, welcoming, enlightened. Get the idea? There’s usually a common thread or two, so when the same descriptors repeat themselves, it’s important to take note.
Sally Hogshead, 1# Bestselling Author of How The World Sees You says, “You already have fascinating qualities and these qualities shape how the world sees you. These are your advantages and when you apply them you’ll grow your business and you’ll become intensely valuable to those who matter most.”
Defining who you are, what you value and gaining objective feedback are essential. Once you have a solid understanding of your Personal Brand Foundation, ask yourself, “How can I effectively reflect that throughout my brand?” My next posts will be Keys 2-5, which are the benchmarks I use when working with my clients to craft a well-executed personal brand.