“A lion who copycats a lion becomes a monkey.”
Everyone has a personal brand.
The concept gained traction in the late 1990’s but really this is about what has always existed: your reputation.
The question is no longer IF you should have a personal brand, but if you choose to control how to define your brand or to let it be defined by others.
Branding is not anymore only for products, big businesses, celebrities or entrepreneurs.
Brands are a must for people as much as products and constitute a significant competitive advantage to articulate your personality and uniqueness professionally.
Personal branding is possible for any one who becomes intentional about how they want to be perceived, and what they want others to see and feel.
Human beings understand the world around them through stories, narratives we tell ourselves about what is happening and why. Many people remember stories easier than facts.
Malcolm Gladwell wrote in The Tipping Point that kids who are confused about the action they see on TV would turn away and disengage. Somehow, adults are not much different. Malcom Gladwell coined the term “stickiness” to refer to an idea or product’s memorability, catchiness, and overall ability to hold a person’s attention.
Your authenticity is your greatest superpower
Turn your personal brand into your most valuable asset and competitive advantage in your professional life – whether you want to advance where you are or to pivot in a new path.
Here are 4 tips to develop your personal brand!
STEP 1: Get clear on how you want to be perceived
Once you understand how you wish to be perceived, you can start to be much more strategic about your personal brand.
- What would someone you know say to someone who never met you when describing you?
- What do you want others to experience about you?
- What do people think of you? What do they say when you leave the room?
- What qualities and principles must you honor – or part of you dies and can’t be fulfilled? Select your top 3 values and define what they mean to you.
- What words would describe the best version of yourself? Select your top 3 personality strengths.
This is not about playing tricks or being inauthentic. On the contrary. It is about giving, adding value and service.
STEP 2: Define Your Unique Value Proposition
To become respected in your company or industry, you need to be very clear on what unique value you provide and how to connect that to those you serve.
Your brand should be authentic to you – who you are, what you do, how you do it, what makes you different / unique and what you have to offer to employers and / or clients
Most often, it is a combination that makes us unique, rather than one element in isolation.
It can be a read thread to build a unique narrative across multiple passions, or, in the context of a reinvention, a powerful way to enable others to understand your journey across different roles and industries shifts.
Your personal brand identity combines:
- Your values and personality strengths, skills and gifts, passions or curiosity.
- Your purpose (or “purposefulness”).
- Your academic, personal and professional background.
- Your name, your physical appearance, your outfits and personal style, your voice and any accent, perhaps a brand color or type font or logo.
- A specific experience you went through.
- A career accomplishment, award or recognition you may have received.
- Your dreams and aspirations.
STEP 3: Ask For Feedback
Understanding how you are perceived, and identifying any gaps between the current reality and where you want to be in the future is critical to your professional life, including in the context of a reinvention.
Even when you think you already know how others view you, you might be surprised by what you find and the message you are giving to others may be very different from what you intend. Listening to the outside world can enable you to gain valuable insight.
So how do you get this precious feedback?
- Write down 3-5 things you would like others to experience when interacting with you or know you for.
- Ask a close friend, mentor or a trusted colleague to do the same.
- Are the answers similar? If so, well done. If not – you have some work to do ro refine your personal brand.
I have a full “Do-it-yourself 360 review” in my RE-Vitalize and RE-Invent programs that I take my clients through!
STEP 4: Be Consistent
Everything you do offline and online ultimately contributes to your personal brand. Once you are clear on your personal brand, make sure that you embody it in all actions and interactions.
Remember what you want to stand for, by defining your “brain tattoos”.
- Based on your values and strengths, create principles of how you want to live your life. Aim for 10 and pick your top 3 as “brain tattoos”. It is a creative way of distilling your core values and strengths.
- Reflect and meditate on these principles and how you can express these more fully in and out of work.
- Create phone alarms at regular times, or screensavers.
- Write them on post-it notes in places you see the most in your house, or on your to do list.
- Remember them whenever you are about to enter a place, or to meet someone.
- Revisit them periodically so your life remains aligned with them, and update them as needed as these would probably change over time.
- Set daily intentions about how you want to “show-up” in the world and with others – what you want to be, do, feel, live and give.
Promote Your Brand Online
- e.g. Blogging, LinkedIn, Social Media
Promote Your Brand Offline
- e.g. Participating in industry groups, giving talks, or offering to lead a project that highlight your talents.
If you want to be successful, creating a personal brand is not just a nice to have but a necessity.
Whether you aspire to accelerate your career, get that promotion or land your dream job, creating a compelling and consistent brand will help you meet your goals.
It will also be critical to showing up with greatest authenticity in your day to day personal life and remembering what truly matters to you!
Ultimately, whether in our personal or business life, what we want is connection.
“I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
People who are kind and giving vs. selfish and transactional, authentic and genuine vs. superficial, and full of positive energy vs.draining, curious and delighted to meet others vs. isolated, helpful vs. helpless.
Lions. Not monkeys.
Don’t try to live someone else’s life or wait for exterior approval. It is not about fitting in. It is about standing out and standing in what you truly want. Your life path is unique, and so is your personal brand and career.
And last but not least – Your personal brand statement is not carved in stone! You will and should continue to refine how you define and brand yourself.
How do you plan on levelling up or reinventing your personal brand in 2021?
Send me a message and let me know + If you want to go deeper … Get in touch! My intentional Living Method has at its heart to empower professionals to look inwards in order to create a more intentional life and career – whether by enhancing their current path or reinventing a new one. Defining first their authentic self and personal brand identity. Self-awareness and authenticity are superpowers!