Have you ever really sat down to think about what you stand for? I’m not talking about your political or religious beliefs, which of course are important. What I mean is have you ever given serious thought to how you want other people to see you as a brand?
If my question now has you confused because you think “well, I’m a person, not a brand”, then you might want to continue reading because I’m about to rock your world. You, my friend, are a brand! There, I said it.
You, the person, the human with a heart and soul, are a brand! Just like Starbucks, just like Nike, just like Lady Gaga you, too, are a brand. So it’s high time you started acting like one.
Think about it.
Whether you’re fresh out of college and looking for your first professional job, or you’re currently working for a company and trying to move up the corporate ladder, or you’re an entrepreneur starting or running your own company, you, the person, are a brand.
And just like the brands I mentioned earlier, each one of us is, on an almost daily basis, trying to “sell” ourselves to others. If you’re fresh out of college, you’re trying to sell yourself to potential employers. If you’re working at a company you’re trying to sell yourself to your boss, your co-workers, or the CEO. And if you’re an entrepreneur or freelancer you’re trying to sell yourself to your clients and customers.
So, if you’ve never actually taken the time to consider how your personal brand comes across to your audience, regardless of who that audience is, then you might be selling yourself short and not leveraging the true power of your unique personal brand.
Brands like Starbucks aren’t successful by accident. It takes very deliberate thought and action to ensure that every single time you visit a Starbucks and buy a coffee you have an experience that leaves a very specific, and meaningful, impression on you. So why shouldn’t it be the same for your personal brand?
Every time your audience comes into contact with you, whether it’s in person or online, a very specific impression should be made. And that impression should help you use all that your unique brand offers to help you achieve your personal, professional, and business goals.
But where do you even start to ensure you’re making the most of your brand’s unique attributes? Let’s start with three very simple things you can do to ensure you deliver a solid personal brand experience that leaves a positive impression and builds trust with your audience.
Step 1 - Define who you are
Take a close look inward and really define what your personal brand stands for and what you want it to stand for. Are you funny and outgoing? Are you more reserved and studious? Maybe you’re a fitness freak or you could play video games for hours on end. Do you want to be known for being an expert in a particular field? Take pen to paper and start jotting down some words that describe you. This is how you see yourself and how you want to be seen.
Take into account all of the things that make you you. What gives you your you-ness? What are your passions? Pet peeves? What do you believe in? What really gets on your nerves? What feelings do you want others to be left with when they connect with you? All of these things make you the unique, amazing person that you are. So jot them all down.
Now you have a picture of how you see yourself and how you want your brand to be seen by others.
Step 2 - Define how others see you
But there’s another part to defining yourself. If you want to be seen as fun and outgoing but your audience sees you as shy then there’s a bit of a disconnect. So you really need to get an understanding of how others see you. This one can be a bit tricky, but there are some ways to get at this information. First, you could just ask. Ask those in your audience to describe you and see what they say. What are the words they use to describe you?
Now, understand that you may not get completely honest feedback because people will be more inclined to tell you only the positive and not the negative. And you really need to know the good, the bad, and the ugly if you’re going to convey a consistent and authentic personal brand. To get more honest feedback you could also create a simple survey using a free tool like Survey Monkey. You can set up the survey so that the responses are anonymous and that will make the respondents more likely to be honest. And honest feedback is truly what you need here.
Armed with this insight you’ll identify the areas where how you see yourself and how others see you align. More importantly, though, you’ll identify the areas that don’t align. For example, others may see you as serious when you actually want to be seen as carefree. These misalignments are actually opportunities! They are places where you can make corrections and reinforce the attributes that you want your personal brand to be known for.
Step 3 - Align your personal brand presence
Now it’s time to review all the places where your personal brand lives - online and offline - looking for consistency in conveying how you want to be seen and to discover where your brand might convey the things you don’t want to be known for. Look at offline things like how you dress, how you speak, and your handshake and online things like your LinkedIn profile, Facebook profile, content you publish, and the like.
Once you’ve conducted your review begin correcting those those things that are inconsistent with how you want your personal brand to come across. Remember, consistency is the single biggest key to having maximum impact with your personal brand. So make sure that every place your personal brand comes into contact with your audience contains the signals of how you want to be seen by others. Use these moments of touch to make an consistent impression on your audience, be seen the way you want to be seen, and build trust for your personal brand.
With these three simple first steps you’ll be on your way to more effectively leveraging the power that your personal brand holds to show your audience what you offer and what makes you different from others in your industry. As your audiences picks up on the consistency in your brand they’ll grow to trust you more.
And people do business with people (brands) whom they trust. It’s a win-win situation!
This article just scratches the surface of all the intricacies in defining, building, and conveying a consistent personal brand. Don’t leave your personal brand to chance and risk getting lost in a sea of competitors. Don’t miss out on opportunities to resonate with your audience, build trust, and leverage your unique personal brand.
Let me know how I can help! Authentically,
The Brand Teacher
Want to make sure your personal brand is healthy and working for you to attract your dream job or clients? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's schedule a chat about how we can work together or book a Personal Brand Boost Strategy Session today!