There are many ways to think of personal and professional branding. It’s a part of how we market and sell ourselves. Our brand reflects our reputation and what we’re known for. And of course, it’s how others see us in the world. Nonetheless, let’s be clear, brand is not about trying to get people to like you. It’s about liking yourself enough to identify the most important things that others need to know about you.
How to Think About Your Own Brand
In an effort to make this fun, let’s not look at it from the corporate perspective first, and instead let’s turn this into a creative process. What if reflecting on your brand could be a way for you to get to know yourself more?
Begin thinking about personal and professional brand by starting to consider:
- Who you are and what is unique about you
- How you show up in the world
- What your contribution is
One way to think of brand is this….as a reflection, of your intention, of who you want to BE in the world. This obviously does not have to be the deepest level of who you are but it’s nonetheless quite important. It’s what others see, know about you, and share about you with others.
To be outside the box, I’m going to quote Ru Paul:
“You’re born naked and the rest is drag. Meaning everything you put on after you get out of the shower is in essence a construct. It’s something that was built. For the everyday person, they too are in drag but it’s not as obvious. It’s a way of putting focus on the vision you put forth. It’s a way of connecting your own frequency, your own energy, to what people see. On the inside, we always feel like ourselves. Yet, how you present yourself in life, how you see yourself, is everything.”
I will add that this is happening whether you think it through or not. If you put no attention to it, you’re still putting yourself out there in the world and people are experiencing you and getting a sense of your “brand.” And in fact, if you don’t own the narrative…then you are leaving it up to others to guesstimate what your brand is. But why not think it through? Why not consider your brand and be thoughtful about it?
It’s a slightly different and more dynamic way to look at it. Okay, let’s start creatively and not concern ourselves too much about the outcome just yet. Let’s begin with some questions. And you know the saying, “Dance like nobody’s watching”. Likewise, answer the following questions as if it’s just for you.
Let’s start there.
Who are your best friends and what makes them your best friends?
What are three things you always enjoy doing? Why?
What are three things you do, that usually leave you feeling fulfilled?
What’s your favorite style? This could be clothing, architecture, interior design, art, music, design in general, etc. Now, what do you think this says about you?
What do you want people to know about you?
What would you like your reputation to be?
If you were an inspiration for someone (or even an organization) what would you like to be an inspiration for? Meaning….what would you like to inspire in others?
What are your top strengths?
What are your top three values that you want others to know, about you or your work?
Do you have a philosophy?
What are your core skills? (Don’t overthink this. If they don’t come immediately to mind, consider what others appreciate about you or 3 things you bring to the table.)
What’s the best compliment that you’ve ever gotten?
Choose 3 to 6 words that describe you. Then ask a friend or a few to do the same.
What do you see as your purpose, be it at work, or some other important area of your life? (Purpose is where you find meaning, it’s what you do, and how you contribute. Purpose can be a north star. It doesn’t have to be specific. For example, as a coach, my purpose is to help people. Don’t overthink this. Come up with something and know that you can adjust it later.)What makes you stand out at work or elsewhere?
Brand Statement Template
This can later be used in the About section of your LinkedIn, as an elevator pitch, or as a frame of reference to help you focus as you take on a new job or new life.
It’s worth saying that when it comes to brand, there can be unspoken parts of your brand. There can be things you want people to know but that are not articulated. And these unspoken parts of your brand can still be good reference points for yourself. These elements can come through in other ways (with a website or product, these elements of the brand can come across in the design.) That’s why it’s still useful to define these aspects of your brand for yourself. Later they may come through in your body language, intentions, goals, style, or manner of communication. All of that said, do you have facets of who you are that you would rather go unspoken?
And of course, consider your audience as you write this out based on some of the above questions:
I am a [add an adjective or two or three that describes you] [then add one of the following: leader, job title, person, some other meaningful category you put yourself in] committed to [statement of your purpose], by [the action you take in your life or work], and by leveraging my core skills of [add core skills here].
Make this your own. This is a way to get started and yet there are many ways to write out your own personal or professional brand. Try different formats using the material you generated from the questions.
Finally, remember, a brand is not about trying to get people to like you. It’s about liking yourself enough to identify the most important things that others need to know about you.
The Next Steps…
If you are looking to continue to improve your personal and professional branding, the coaches at Ignite Your Potential are here to help.
Reach out and take advantage of our complimentary 25-minute phone brainstorming session to learn more tips and tricks. The award-winning coaches at Ignite Your Potential can help you get on track.