Brands are Promises. Promises about what we can (and cannot) expect.
Human nature is to avoid uncertainty and with that, disappointment or danger. Hence people categorise everything.
Because it has proven itself to be a good strategy in order to survive.
However, good news is that it is also human nature to not being able to distinguish between a story that has actually happened and one that has happened in our brains and thoughts. So it is not entirely up to the universe how others perceive us but within our possibilities to shape this perception in the way we want it to be. For that however, it is important to know what we actually want to stand for.
Sounds too easy but if you ask yourself NOW:
'What are you standing for?'
Would you have the answer ready to go?
Don't worry if not. Most people don't.
That's not an excuse however to discover your brand and get started by taking control over your own destiny.
To get you started, follow this Step-by-Step Guide. It will guaranteed give you some clarity!
1.) Create Your Personal Brand Vision
Creating a personal brand begins by creating a personal vision.
Only you can determine how you want your life to unfold and how you want to be perceived and remembered by others. You can’t control every aspect of your life, but you can create a long-term vision and develop steps to achieve that vision.
Your life’s vision should include how you see yourself in the next 1, 5 and 10 years as well as what you want to be remembered of by others.
Consider the elements in life that would make you happy— a family, a beach house, a challenging corporate job?
The foundation of personal branding is authenticity:
You can only fake a personality for so long until others get the gist of its disconnection for the real you. The way to find your true self is by identifying your values.
Your values are the things that drive your life.
They’re at the core of your being and you refer to them when making decisions.
Maybe you don’t always refer to them, everybody makes bad decisions sometimes, but you when you make your best decisions in life you usually consider your values.
These values define the things that are most important to the person. When faced with a decision such as taking a new job, changing careers or starting your own business, you should base and align your decisions with personal values.
What is the best choice for you in terms of your family, your friends, your long-term career plans and the other values on the list?
2.) Priortise your values
Life happens and with that, our values change.
As you go through the things that make you happy in life you’ll see that your values aren’t all equally important at this point in time.
And it will continue to change over time due to the different stages you go through in life.
The goal of building your personal brand is not just to get a better job or to grow your company.
It’s about creating your own happiness and create a career that full fills you, personally as well as professionally.
How many people do you know that are highly successful in their profession, but lack happiness because they didn’t realise how highly they valued their family life?
And it works the other way too. There are people that have a wonderful family, but they feel unfulfilled because they lack professional challenges.
Prioritise your values in your current situation (as it may change) and you’ll know how to approach your personal brand vision.
3.) Identify your passions
Your passions are the things that you can do until the cows come home: talk about them, hear about them and thinking about them.
For example, your top value might be being a positive influence in other people’s life and one of your passions might be sport.
The value and the passion can be different but key is to find ways for them to go hand in hand. However, one aspects (value) needs to be identified first in order to find ways to execute it (your passion). In this step your task is to identify your passions so you can figure out the activities that give you the most reward in life. A key to creating a successful personal brand is to identify your passions and make it your goal to experience those passions in your professional life.
A passion is something that interests you and you are happy spending time, money and energy in it, even without getting paid or rewarded.
Passions can be both personal and professional. Try to identify both personal and professional passions as you may be surprised about how it potentially could align.
4.) Find your personal traits
Traits are what makes you YOU.
The next step is to identify your traits, the aspects of your personality that make the person you are and most important: unique.
Traits are things that give others an idea on how you operate, what makes you tick and how to deal with it to get the best out of you.
There are a few different theories and tests to measure personality traits and as everyone has preferences, I will leave it up to you to find a test that resonates with you the best.
5.) Get Feedback
Finally, get feedback on you as the person you want to be seen as by the ones closest to you – family, friends and peers.
Remember: it is not what you say about you but what others think of you and perceive from your message.
This will give you a more objective view and whilst it could differ from your perceptions it will give you more information about the person you are and you’ll be better able to understand where you can make changes to go where you want to be - professionally and personally.
You see, building your personal brand is about how others are going to view you and what you stand for.
Not really about you and even less about blowing your own horn.
So it’s essential to get feedback from the ones who are interacting with you and have known you for a while so you understand how to align your personal brand with your goals.
If you need some guidance on either or all the steps above, consider professional support to help you identifying the best possible you and how you can position yourself as thought leader in your field.