“The Art of Personal Branding” will show you how to distinguish and protect your personal brand image and identity. Learn how to differentiate yourself and guard against confusion and identity fraud.
Personal & Public Persona
As a general guideline, try to identify, distinguish and promote your personal brand within a niche market. The market could be your inner circle, family, friends, followers or business network. When promoting your personal brand, consider what messages you want to communicate and what impressions you want to leave with those whose opinions matter to you.
Some people distinguish and promote themselves by creating controversy to grab attention. Others become advocates for a specific mission or purpose. Credibility, trust and value also help to distinguish you. There are those who are thrust into the limelight through circumstances beyond their control. They don’t seek publicity. Instead it finds them.
To create your own brand, start by identifying unique qualities, characteristics, personality traits and behaviors that define you and what’s important and valuable to you. Find out how others describe you. Be honest with yourself. Be real. Brand integrity is built on honesty, trust and authenticity.
Do a self-assessment by asking the following questions:
- What distinguishes you, makes you unique, and sets you apart from your peers?What attributes, actions and behaviors differentiate you from others?
- Do you possess unusual talents, unique knowledge or skills?
- Have you won awards or done something noteworthy?
- How would you describe your personality and behavior?
- What are your passions and interests?
- What do you believe in, value and want to become known for?
- Based on how you are perceived by others, what is your current reputation?
Your brand should convey your personality. Are you serious in nature, edgy, quirky, irreverent or funny? Try to capture your personality in the words, symbols and images you choose to represent you. Be true to yourself.
There are moments in life that define individuals. My friend Chris Waddell, a world-renowned athlete, Paralympian and motivational speaker has a saying that bears repeating. “It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do with what happens to you.”
Confronting adversity, facing opposition, and overcoming personal or physical challenges are examples of defining moments. The loss of a loved one may influence who you become. Experiences often happen outside of our control. These incidents have the potential to create victims or help people become better as a result of their experiences.
We all have defining moments and a life story. The story may be a collection of experiences or a single defining moment. Consider your own experiences. Did they make you stronger, more resilient? In what ways did life-defining moments shape you and affect your identity? Did they strengthen your resolve, build character, or change your outlook on life? These defining moments may factor into your personal brand image and message.
Often that which differentiates also defines and strengthens. Describe in a positive manner how your experiences set you apart. A few carefully chosen words and images can be used to describe your life story and future aspirations. This can be reflected in your brand image and persona.
Reflecting on My Brand
Many questions went through my mind when I began working in social media. I thought about my personal brand image as I developed an Internet site at www.navigatewithpurpose.com. I decided to express myself, educate others, and reflect my values and beliefs in my blog. Because of my experience and reputation, I described myself as a multi-sport athlete, artist and sports marketing professional. My personal brand image is integrated into my blog and social media accounts.
As an experienced marketer, I have been involved with branding for years. I’ve created commercial brands and helped market a wide range of branded products, services and businesses. Until recently, promoting products and services offered by my clients and helping them protect their brands had been my primary focus. Until starting a blog, I had not given much thought to branding myself apart from my business interests.
Rather than emphasize my businesses, I considered how best to describe and visualize myself as a brand. I wanted the blog to serve as an educational resource, one that capitalized on my knowledge and experience for the benefit of others. I chose “Navigate With PurposeTM”as a theme and “Explore New Horizons: Find Your True DirectionTM” as a slogan. The compass rose is a navigational aid, which was an appropriate symbol for my brand. These words and symbols represent me and the values I hold dear. Showcased on my site are samples of my artwork and photography demonstrating style and creativity.
Managing Your Brand Image
In this age of data mining and social media, it’s important to be aware of electronic messages and impressions they create – intentionally or unintentionally. If you appear in a snapshot or video within social media, for example, are these pictures in good taste? Do they leave a positive impression?
People form judgments from public information and the prolific use of social media. This is why it is advisable to manage your brand image and protect your identity to the best of your ability. It can be a time consuming process.
Communicate Your Brand Message
Communicate in ways that add credibility, develop trust, and build supportive relationships online and in the real world. Use social media, conventional media, and word of mouth advertising to your advantage.
Identify your brand, formulate your message and tell your story. Develop a personal brand identity that distinguishes and positions you favorably in the minds of others. Take personal responsibility for your own brand. After all, your brand reflects your reputation, sometimes for many years.
Join this conversation. Suggest tips for defining, managing and promoting your personal brand.
© 2012 Anne Wall, All Rights Reserved.