Thursday, August 16, 2012

How to showcase your personal brand (Pt.3)

It's time to finish up our discussion on personal branding. If you've missed the previous posts you can check out the links below and then come on back here to join us for the end. 

Your personal brand consists of your: 
Once you've finalized your origin story, values, and skills, it's time to think about how your personal brand is relevant to the world. Brands are only as strong as their audience. 

When I ask you to think of your favorite brand, what is the first one that comes to mind? 

Why do you love it? 

What about it speaks to you? 

Do you tell other people about it? Why?

That is the kind of power you want your personal brand to have. The power to elicit a positive response. 

But what you must keep in mind is that a brand is special because its audience is special. Your favorite brand doesn't appeal to everyone. It is special because its specific. 
You of course are a specific individual - you are unique. So you've got that covered and you've defined it by doing the previous three personal branding exercises

Now it's time to think about who will care about your uniqueness. Namely, your core community and defined contribution. In short - who will pay you to do what you do best?

This takes a lot of research and thought, so don't worry if this doesn't come easily to you. If you do these exercises you will already be far ahead of your peers. 

Core Community
Reflect on your origin story, core values, and core skills for a moment. Who are the kind of people your skills and personality can best help? Does a specific company come to mind? A specific demographic? People with particular values? Who could benefit from who you are and the skills and talents you bring to the world? If the answer is "everyone" you're not there yet. 

Think deeply, search online, and read articles about your desired industry. Who is it you can help most, so much so that they might even pay you (or someone else might pay you to help that group?). Write it all down. 

Defined Contribution
This is where everything you've written so far about your personal brand culminates. When you read through everything you've written about who you are, what you do well, and what kinds of people could benefit from your skills, they should lead you to your contribution to the world. What are you seeing so far?

Again, this isn't easy, and it requires specificity. Don't worry if you don't know it all now. Just write what you see yourself contributing to the world in the most detailed way possible. Consider your story, values, skills, and community. Bring it all together and let it simmer. Close your eyes and picture yourself in 10 years. What do you see? Write it down.

Personal branding is a long-term process and will evolve as you evolve. The only mistake you can make is to not think about it at all. 

Because whether you know it or not, you are creating your personal brand every day. When your name is brought up among friends or professionals, they will associate you with certain characteristics, certain contributions. Personal branding isn't about creating a fake persona or caring too much about what other people think -  it's about ensuring you reach and communicate your full potential. 

Once you define your personal brand you will be able to identify jobs where you'll thrive. And the best part? You will be able to share your unique self and contributions with the world. And trust me, you have way more to offer than you think. We need your personal brand.

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