Because a personal brand is like a product brand, if you do not proactively manage it then someone else will do it for you. And you might not like the results. Here are some easy steps to take down this journey.
Step 1: Define your Brand
Start with some Self-Analysis…
To start with, the following is a list of questions that can assist you in discovering your purpose the cornerstone of your personal brand. They are meant as a guide to help you get into a frame of mind to defining your personal brand.
• Take out a few sheets of loose paper and a pen.
• Find a place where you will not be interrupted.
• Write the first thing that pops into your head without editing.
• Write quickly.
• Be honest. Nobody will read it.
- What makes you smile? (Activities, people, events, hobbies, projects, etc.)
- What are your favorite things to do in the past or today?
- What activities make you lose track of time?
- Who inspires you most? (Anyone you know or do not know. Family, friends, authors, artists, leaders, etc.) Which qualities inspire you, in each person?
- What are you naturally good at? (Skills, abilities, gifts etc.)
- What do people typically ask you for help in?
- If you had to teach something, what would you teach?
- What are your deepest values?
- What causes do you strongly believe in? Connect with?
- If you could get a message across to a large group of people. Who would those people be?
…and summarize in a Personal Brand statement
Your statement is 1-2 sentences answering what you are the best at (value), who you serve (audience) and how you do it uniquely. Hence it sums up your unique promise of value. Most of all your personal brand statement is distinctive to you and you alone.
- What value or benefits do you provide? What are the features that lead to these benefits?
- How you do it uniquely? What are your strengths?
- Whom you do it for? Who is your main audience?
Step 2: The Reality Check
Beware that your Personal Brand will be tempered by the perception that people have of you. Therefore, it is critical to understand how your brand is perceived and compare this to how you would like to be perceived (your Brand statement).
The purpose of this step is to collect external input and opinions on your personal brand. Here are some suggested exercises
As always feedback is a great tool to gather input and works best when you have a network that knows you personally. One effective model is to focus on both strengths and weaknesses but splitting this out for your Expertise and your Approach.
First your strengths in Expertise should be aligned with the values that you have defined in your statement and uniqueness should be reflected in your Approach.
The weaknesses always generate a good debate. First of all, weaknesses in direct contradiction with your personal brand statement are gaps that need to be remedied (either acquire expertise / change approach or modify your personal brand). In some cases, these weaknesses are not related to your brand statement. However as these are perceived weaknesses, you do need to make sure that they do not overshadow and derail your brand.
Finally, feedback is most effective when anonymous and in some cases, it pays to enroll a third and impartial person to collect and consolidate the feedback.
If you have an extensive virtual network, why not use online survey tools that you can post on your social media? It doesn’t need to be elaborate (see screenshot below). People can argue that most of your network doesn’t really know you. But it is a good test to see how your Brand translates in the social network.
Step 3: Live your Brand every day
A brand is a like a bank account – the more you live it the more credit it receives. The reverse is also true, acting against the brand is a like a withdrawal that reduces the overall equity. Here are some tools to credit your brand.
In the Real World
Your Elevator Speech
The elevator speech is a short 30 second sound bite to present your brand in a succinct and memorable fashion. Especially relevant elements are:
- Introduction and connection: allows you to introduce yourself but also connect by highlighting something concerning the other person
- Establish credibility: by providing relevant details of benefits and value provided
- Close: with a clear ask.
Example: Hi, congratulations on the success of the new product launch. My name is Mark. I had the opportunity to set up a unique approach using out of the box communication channels. I believe that there might be some synergies between the two projects. Should we schedule some time?
Your Professional Presence
Because professional presence is all about projecting your brand with confidence from formal group setting to an informal telephone conversation there are some watchpoints:
- Positive postures and movements
- Natural gestures and facial expressions
- Maintain eye connection
- Project your voice to gather attention
- Use clear and visual language
In the Virtual World
First make sure that your digital persona reflects your personal brand. Also spend time adapting your professional sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter to your personal brand statement. Especially areas to reflect include:
- How you present yourself: photo, headline, professional history, associations…
- What you share: are these aligned to your core value and uniqueness?
- How you share: is the tone and approach consistent?
Finally, always assume that your nonprofessional sites (e.g. Facebook) will be accessed by your professional network. Therefore do not post any activity that could discredit your personal brand!
Learn more on how Santa Marketing can improve your effectiveness over here.