Businesses understand the importance of branding and marketing their “brand.” It is an easy way for customers to understand what the company is all about, what the company stands for, and its purpose.
The hard part for many people is to recognize that we each have a personal brand. The personal brand is what we are “all about” in life.
To develop a personal brand requires reflection, thinking about, and writing down what is important to you. Here are five basic steps toward developing a personal brand:
- Core Values. Everything we do starts with what we believe and how we see the world. Surprisingly, most people don’t take the time to reflect and develop their critical core values. Those values can be found in traits, strengths, interests, and beliefs. Reflecting on what makes us engage at a high-level reveals where a person’s passions lie and what gets us motivated and moving. Writing down your five to six core values is a start.
- Become a Knowledge Expert. Core competencies are crucial to your brand. People are more likely to listen to you and be willing to follow you if you are known for being an expert in a specific topic or area. Developing core competencies takes time and effort and does not happen overnight. The person who understands his/her brand and is willing to invest time in his/her personal development becomes the knowledge expert.
- Know Where You Fit. Knowing your core values and core competencies help you understand and recognize a “good fit” and the right situation. The flip-side is also identifying and recognizing when it is not a good fit, and when you are putting yourself in those “bad fit” places/situations. Not recognizing a good fit only leads to frustration and failure. As you develop your brand, you begin to see situations much clearer.
- Have a Good Story. Why you? What makes you different from the next person in the crowd – it’s your story. The story is the hook and the emotional connections people make with you and your brand. Lamar Jones, The Jank BBQ Sauce guy, did not win H-E-B Quest for Texas Best competition. He didn’t even finish in the top ten, but H-E-B loved his story. The grocery chain liked it so much that they featured Lamar in one of its television commercials that ran during the Super Bowl. Your story is important. Practice it and develop the hook that pulls people in.
- Help Others First. You want people to talk about you in a positive way, so give and help others be successful. It is the most basic concept called the law of reciprocity. You separate yourself from others by giving and asking for nothing in return. Your brand becomes powerful and people begin to seek you out. They look toward you as a leader and your brand is something they want to be associated with.
Do you have a personal brand? We all do. We may just not be aware of what type of brand we are projecting to people. Take the time to stop and think about what you believe, what your core competencies are, what is a good fit for you, what your story is, and how much you are willing to help others first.