We all have a personal brand whether we like the term or not; it’s your reputation – what people say about you when you are not in the room (Jeff Bezos). Defining your story and owning it means you can craft what you want to be known for; in absence of owning it people will define you the way they choose. It’s a simple process but not necessarily easy and like most things worth doing, you will get out of this what you put into it.
STEP 1: Vision
5 years from now what do you want to be known for? Set your intention, where are you going? What is your vision for yourself? What do you see yourself doing and being introduced to someone as? Who have you observed and thought ‘I want to do that’ or ‘I could be that’?
STEP 2: Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
What is your unique value proposition? What are you about and why should anyone care? You can define your UVP by considering the following elements:
(i) Natural talents – what were you naturally good at as a child (about 8 years old)
e.g. making friends (connecting), writing, public speaking, problem solving, numeracy, prolific reader, sociable and chatty (communication) etc.
(ii) Skills – What have you learned along the way through your working life?
e.g. managing people, project management, financial management
(iii) Passions/Interests – what do you gravitate towards in a bookstore or when reading/browsing online in your downtime?
If you are unclear about your strengths and skills ask your colleagues, family and friends. The 3-word game is an easy way to do this – ask them to describe you in three words and then look for trends in the responses.
STEP 3: Bring it together
Connect your abilities and skills that have made you who you are today, to the vision of your future self to develop your personal brand statement.
e.g. I use my communication (natural talent) and leadership experience (acquired skill) to help corporate clients with their personal and professional development (or whatever your area of focus is).
Use this to introduce yourself at industry and networking events in response to the question of ‘what do you do?’ it can also be useful to leverage it with new colleagues to position yourself.
Finally, be consistent across all platforms; it is not ok to be professional on LinkedIn and have personal social media sites tell a vastly different story. Knowing yourself, communicating this authentically and consistently will serve you well.