Why Step 1 to Building Your Personal Brand is More About What You Say “Yes” to and Less About Your Iconic Red Lip.
I have been in marketing for six years and have a shiny list of accolades, showcasing some impressive and unique brands, which I have had a hand in building and making recognisable. Yet, had you asked me a year ago, “how can I build my personal brand”, I wouldn’t have had a clue what advice to give you.
Looking at this month’s topic, I realised that we are surrounded by “personal brands” every day, seeing so many influencers on social media, coming to life at glamourous events or local yoga studios. I have always wondered how these men and women stand out so prominently. In a world of wall papered brands, not only do they stand out, of late they have become more influential than some of the brands that they are being paid to promote.
I quickly realised, if we examine these men and women, they all have one thing in common. At first, it may seem that this would be their fashion sense, iconic hair cut or signature lipstick however, when we take a deeper look, people who have successful personal brands all hinge their “brand” off one thing, their values.
Much like a commercial brand has “unique selling points”, we can view our “values” as being just that for our personal brands, the unique points that “sell” us.
I did some research on “Building your Personal Brand” and all the guru’s in the field suggest starting off by identifying what it is that you are good at. I believe that before you can do this, you need to ask yourself “what are my values?”. It may seem obvious but when it comes to putting pen to paper in identifying them, its harder than it sounds.
What are your values? Achievement? Commitment? Loyalty? How about fun? Elation or Vivacity?
Our values are the ideas and feelings that we hold most closely to us. They are characteristics that we feel are most important. They make up a huge portion of who we think we are, determining what life means to us and the actions that we take.
If we can understand that our values are what we use to determine what life means to us, motivating our actions, it becomes clear that our attitudes and behaviour, likes and dislikes are all reflections of our values. Your personal brand should showcase your unique attitude towards everything that you do and the actions that you take.
If “order” is a value of mine, my actions and behaviour will differ from someone who places higher importance on “surprise”. In this way we can see how our actions and reactions are largely dependent on our values. With “order” as a value, I find walking into a neat and clean space calming
and welcoming whereas a person who values “surprise” may find this clinical and boring. This is due to the characteristics of the situation (neat and clean) being more aligned with what I deem important and good for me (order). I am then able to determine more quickly, which situations work better for me over other situations, and am then able to make more clear choices ensuring I am always in a good space for what I deem essential to my needs.
Using the example of a neat and clean space, and me being someone who values “order, if I were to be seeking financial advice and walked into someone’s office and it were to be neat and clean, I will react positively to this and be more likely to feel at ease with this person. Feeling at ease with this person will then motivate certain actions in me, such as me trusting them with my finances, which would not have taken place if the office was untidy. Using this, we can then know that once we have spent time coming to know our values, we will be more clear on how to establish our personal brand and what we can offer others who have the same value.
When we see that our actions and reactions are determined by what we hold dear to us, we can then understand that working towards our dreams, goals and desires is a way in which we can fulfil our values as we work to achieve what we deem as “good” for ourselves. Connecting with your values and knowing your goal, your personal brand will be clearly demonstrated.
Using another value as an example, if I deem “passion” as being important to me, my choice of career will be driven by different aspects to the person who holds “wealth” as what is important to them. In this way we will see that the actions required for us to achieve the goals and desires which are most appealing to us, are a way for us to also achieve what we deem as “good”, resulting in us feeling more fulfilled and satisfied in what we are doing. This is very important in building your personal brand as, when we do activity that is truly fulfilling for who we are, it will stay with us forever and you will keep at it for much longer, getting more joy out of it than if you were to be working towards something that doesn’t truly resonate with you.
In this way, we can then understand that our values determine our career, friends, hobbies, what we eat and what we wear. These element should all be representative of your personal brand, with one thing in common, your values. They are the filters that colour our experiences and what we use to evaluation life. Our values allow us to measure what we feel is good or bad, right or wrong, along with what is possible and impossible.
Once you are in touch with what your real values are, over the things that you have been led to believe you should value, you will understand your purpose in life. You will then be better able to identify what it is that colours your life and why you do things the way that you do them, helping you make your personal brand more prominent.
You will also get clear on who else shares your values. Values act as glue in holding people together. When we are clear on our personal values, we attract, more easily, those who share our values as we know sooner whether we “like” them or not. Companies and relationships that share values generally tend to be more successful as actions and behaviours are aligned.
Now, can you imagine if you were in a space of being clear on your values, knowing what you were good at and creating your personal brand around that? You would then attract opportunities and people who were already aligned with what you deem as “good” and “important”, making the interaction even more memorable for both of you.
So when you ask yourself, “how can I build my person brand?”, my advice to you would be to pause, take a deep breath and rather start by asking yourself “what are my values?” and let your actions do the talking.