A personal brand is not a headshot, a logo or a pretty Facebook page. A personal brand is created, honed and crafted over time, representing an appreciation of your “self”, not as a personality but as a spokesperson for something greater than yourself. Celebrities, sportspeople, entrepreneurs, interviewees and everyone in line for promotion either are or need to be personal brands.
But do you have what it takes? Here are some intertwined elements to consider.
STAND FOR SOMETHING, LIVE IT AND CONTRIBUTE IT
A critical building block in the construction of a personal brand is the ability to convey your vision, passion, and values. The platform you create is reflected in a clear message, expressed in voice, words, appearance, and body language which radiate a charisma that is infectious and inspiring. Furthermore, if you contribute and pass on your values to help people grow you are taking your brand to a new public level. Living and contributing your values are at the heart and soul of a personal brand.
CONFIDENCE IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY
Confidence is an elusive mindset that waxes and wanes depending on how wrong you make yourself in the face of awful circumstances. To be steadfast in keeping your cool, admitting any missteps you committed if necessary, learning from your mistakes and rectifying them next time, all demonstrate stalwart traits of a personal brand. You see critiquing, far from being a personal attack on your character, as a contribution to your growth and development. For you, adversity is a series of learning experiences that strengthen your brand.
INTEGRITY, WALK THE TALK
Integrity actually means complete and whole like a circle; people with integrity have no gaps in their performance, they are known for being sound and trustworthy. They don’t dish out excuses or justifications but deliver the results. Integrity is an important building block for a personal brand because your clients and associates are only interested in how you put things right if things go wrong. Similar to the respected multinational brands who recall faulty products as soon as possible, a person with integrity remedies the situation however much they lose face or money.
Defined as “the power to cause a change of character, thought or action in others” influence is one of the most important elements of a personal brand. Branded people always seem to have a faithful fan club of committed followers. How? By establishing themselves as a trusted advisor they automatically have more influence than being a mere acquaintance. Support and help people; connect to their hearts, minds, and spirit from your own invaluable experience.
CREDIBLE, EXPERIENCED, SPECIALIZED
There is no substitute for knowledge if you are current. Constantly honing your skills, working on yourself and keeping abreast of new techniques all give you credibility. The more specialized your knowledge the more branded you are. The Kardashians are just well known, Oprah is a solid personal brand. Communicating with researched facts, knowledge and experience establishes you as a brand which people around you can trust.
Frequently people can’t express why they or their services stand out from the crowd, but as a personal brand, the ability to distinguish yourself is an essential element. Answer the question: “Why are you different?” And don’t guess! Find out what your target market wants and do your own inexpensive research. Rely on client surveys, evaluations, testimonials, internal reviews and assessments from critics and fans. From there compile a list of the words and phrases that keep coming up. Comparing your own assessment with the results of this process and synthesizing the words into an “essence” phrase will help you come one step closer to your unique market proposition or why people respect you.
Personal branding is the life-force from which you lead others. You discover and pursue your passion, succeed at your life’s purpose and forge a pathway to your own growth and development. It’s a remarkable professional role to achieve and yet, it’s always a work in progress.
Do you have what it takes?
Lynne Marks, President of London Image Institute is a Certified Image Master with the Association of Image Consultants International, one of only a handful of CIM members in the world. You can learn more about her and London Image Instititute here: http://www.londonimageinstitute.com