An effective personal brand will be in harmony with your dreams, life purpose, values, passions, competencies, uniqueness, specialisations, characteristics, and things that you love doing.
The virtual world we live in enables us to network with far more people, but unless we are careful, our relationships will remain superficial.
It is therefore more important than ever to spend time working on your personal brand and your brand story.
Our Personal Brand is not just our Job Title and our Employer …
A common mistake we often make in articulating our personal brand is that we default to who we work for and what we do or have done rather than expressing who we are.
Check out profiles on LinkedIn, the majority of taglines use the default default LinkedIn job title and employer name.
We recommend an approach that places more emphasis on understanding yourself and the needs of others, meeting those needs while staying true to your values, improving yourself continuously, and realizing growth in life based on your Personal Branding journey.
This should be based on your vision and then focusing on selling this to others, rather than inventing a brand around how you would like to be perceived by others.
Difficult! Yes it is! Even if you are a practiced writer, the process of preparing your brand story can be arduous.
Do marketing professionals sit quietly in a room by themselves and dream up brand ideas? No! They collaborate; they brainstorm and bounce ideas off one another.
The task is not an easy one and often it helps to seek guidance from others in supporting this important journey of self discovery.
Using the Birkman Method assessment to help identify your behavioural styles and what environments and tasks are the most motivating for you, is a good place to start in developing your personal brand. After 16 years of working with The Birkman Method and with over 2,600 assessments in our Australian database we have been assisting people, from young adults to senior executives, with their career choices and their brand development.
There are a number of universal themes that come out of our career work:
- We do not always see ourselves the way other people see us!
- We often fail to understand what our behavioural needs are or how important they are to our well being and effectiveness
- We often fall prey to the job at hand rather than the job that more closely aligns with our occupational interests
When working on your brand and brand story here are some key questions you will need to address:
- Describe the path you took to get to the place you are today?
- What inspired you to fall into your current career?
- What values do you hold close to you and your offerings?
- How is your product or service different than others?
- How can you set yourself apart and succeed in your industry?
- In a normal social setting outside of work, how do you respond to the question, “What do you do for a living?”
- If you could have a room full of handpicked customers, consumers, clients, audience members, who would they be?
Perception of Others
Once you have a good handle on your own self-concept, you need to start to draw a parallel between your own self-concept and how others perceive you.
One effective way of incorporating the needs of your target audience, your key stakeholders in work, play and family, is to seek their feedback. Discover some of the following:
- What are they saying about you and your brand?
- What are their wants and needs in your area of expertise?
- What role can your brand play in their lives?
- What are their thoughts and feelings about others that you see as your competitors?
Your Personal Brand should be Authentic
Authentic Personal Branding is a journey towards making more powerful choices in life.
Your Personal Brand should therefore emerge from your search for your identity and meaning in life, and it is about:
- Becoming very clear on what you want
- Fixing it in your mind
- Giving it all your positive energy
- Doing what you love and continue to develop yourself
Your Personal Brand should always:
- Reflect your true character
- Be built on your values, strengths and uniqueness
If you develop a personal brand in this organic, authentic and holistic way, your Personal Brand will be strong, clear, complete, and valuable to others in both your social and work environment.
Peter Evans is a leaning partner with Birkman International and has over 16 years’ experience using the Birkman Method to improve organizational effectiveness. Peter is based in Melbourne Australia, and works with organizations both nationally and internationally and can be reached via contact us.