From the gadgets we use, to the clothes we wear, the car we drive, the restaurants we frequent or the stores we shop in. We make conscious and subconscious choices determined not just by cost, style and quality but by brand. Increasingly we’re also seeing the concept of personal brand.
If you’re going for an interview and you were asked the question; why should I choose you? how good would you be at answering that question with confidence, clarity and purpose?
You MUST be able to stand out from the crowd and make clear what it is you stand for as a person, what it is you want to be known for, what differentiates you, what makes you unique and gives you your edge? In summary, all these questions rolled together…what’s your personal brand?
At its simplest, your personal brand is how you are perceived by others and as Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, famously put it: “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room!”
Having worked with hundreds and thousands of people in the last 20 years from all walks of life across 27 countries I’ve created a five-step process for creating your compelling personal brand.
(1) It’s all about conscious awareness and being pro-active in designing and building your personal brand. Don’t leave it to chance! It’s about taking personal ownership and recognising it’s something that needs to be worked on.
(2) Identify the winning traits of a strong personal brand. Think about individuals in your personal and/or professional life you really admire and respect.
What is it in their personal brand you really admire? What is it that makes them stand out?
At the core of your personal brand is your personal values – take time to really capture these in black and white, clearly articulating why they are important to you and how you live your personal values on a daily basis.
Think back to your childhood and your family values. What are those values and how important are they to you today? Are they the foundation and filter through which you drive your decision-making and determine what is right or wrong?
Be clear on what your purpose is, what you enjoy doing and where you feel you can make a difference and add value. I always say to people if you can turn your passion into your career then every day you have the opportunity to truly enrich the lives of others doing work that you love doing.
Once you’ve completed the above exercises identify the seven brand traits you do well and capture the seven areas where you feel you have further development work to do.
(3) Sense check perception versus reality. They say feedback is the food of champions. Armed with your seven things you think you do well and seven developmental areas pick half a dozen people – three personally and three professionally.
Explain to them what you are doing (don’t share your traits with them yet) and ask them what they think are your seven things which are strong in your personal brand and what seven traits you need to develop?
How aligned are their traits with yours? Does perception (your interpretation) and reality (their view) match?
(4) Hone, polish and refine your personal brand.
The journey in developing your personal brand has no finish line. It never stops. Every day you meet new people, are put into unique situations, experience different challenges. Change is a constant and therefore you’re constantly adapting to the changing environment. Your personal brand is constantly evolving.
The two questions I ask at the end of every day are; Have I been true to my personal brand today, living with authenticity, purpose and focus? and what one thing have I done today to enhance my personal brand?
(5) Be the REAL deal…your brand in ACTION!
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the key to personal branding is to ensure that the face you show to friends and colleagues chimes with your ambitions.
The key element in developing your personal brand is authenticity. Your personal brand should reflect your personality, who you are and what you stand for. If it doesn’t you’ll soon be found out. The one thing people are all looking for more than ever is connection. Connecting with individuals who are the real deal, authentic, values driven with integrity and moral principles and standards.
Follow these steps and you can create a personal brand which will serve you in realising your personal and professional goals, developing rich and fruitful relationships and living a life where you do truly realise your real potential.