So what is a personal brand? There is a lot of literature out there about what personal branding is. To me it has the three ingredients:
Identity – this one is the most important. Identity is who you are, what you stand for, what you believe in and most importantly, what your vision and values are.
I cannot emphasise enough how important knowing your values and vision is, and not only for creating your personal brand, but for setting the direction in your personal and professional life. It is vital. How can you know if you got there, if you don’t know where you are going? It is simple, and yet so many people don’t spend the time required to uncover what truly drives them from within and what mark they want to leave on this world. It does not have to be huge, but everyone’s work is significant and everyone makes a difference – to a bigger or lesser extent. Make it count – find out what your vision and values are!
Relevance – once you know what you stand for and what drives you and your actions, it is important to identify how it is relevant to the world. In context of your business – how relevant are your messages to your customers, how could you translate your vision into a service? In context of your career, how can you benefit a new organisation you are applying for a job with or your current employer – how can, what you are proposing, benefit the organisation or a project? Initiative and drive, attributes highly sought after in leaders, stem from knowing ourselves well and being able to apply that knowledge to the needs of the moment, within an organisation or a project.
Consistency - no matter what you do, do not change your point of view or the way you do things to fit in with others. We do it very often though, we change our view point to fit in with the majority and out of fear of offending someone. When I ask my clients what they are afraid of, they say that it is the fear of not being able to defend oneself. The thing is though, that if you know yourself well enough, your confidence levels grown significantly.
Your brand is yours the moment people associate you with exactly what you stand for or how you do things or what roles you undertake (role not as much driven by titles, but by your disposition). Are you a leader, an initiator of activities, organiser or perhaps a connector? Don’t be afraid to be you just because the circumstances don’t fit or people may not approve.
Your personal brand exists whether you are at work or at home. You are who you are and only by being truthful to yourself and others and leading your life the way you want to see it unfold, only then can you inspire others to do the same or importantly, be truly fulfilled.