The topic of personal branding is at the forefront for everyone, during the pandemic especially, and to some extent unjustifiably for women. With the re-entrance into the workforce or perhaps reinventing your brand as many have done due to a re-evaluation of priorities, it is essential that we are laser-focused in telling our story. Whether your business is within the corporate, entrepreneurial world, or anything in between, how one delivers their message is key. You could be selling a product or service, but you are also selling yourself.
The Exterior – visual representation, demeanour, first message delivered to the world before engaging in conversation.
The Interior – identity, your own self-perception and self-worth.
Many great businesses start with a vision so why not treat your brand with the same perspective? It is often thought of as boasting and gloating when you are promoting yourself and your well-deserved accomplishments. For some, it may feel awkward and unnatural, but you are putting yourself at center stage and that is a key point in becoming successful. If you don’t invest in your brand and selling yourself, how do you expect others to believe in you and your value proposition?
Your message should be carefully curated, in a clear and concise way while also telling a story. Think of an art installation or the great brands like Apple, Google, Oprah Winfrey, GUCCI, Beyonce – there is a strong message behind every one of these notable brands.
Here are some key points to bring to your attention when thinking about your personal brand.
What Is Your Message
Understanding in-depth what your message is – this takes added effort to self-reflect and assess your priorities. Take time to write down, in whatever form is most comfortable to you, 5 adjectives to describe yourself, and then start to build from that. This process is the start of curating your narrative. You must understand who you are and write down your mission statement – overall you are “the brand”.
Target Your Audience
When we think of an individual, famous or not, we immediately have a perception of that person. Especially in today’s world through visual and digital platforms, developing your message to your audience is of the utmost importance. You want to be relatable and authentic to gain success in capturing your audience’s attention and holding onto it. Your image and brand positioning should be synonymous and coincide with your mass audience; in today’s world with social platforms, you may even gain new prospects that may not be like-minded and are open to hearing your message.
Promote Yourself In A Mindful Way
Remember to share information that you will always be proud of. Avoid self-promotion that can be destructive to your personal and professional life. It is easy to get caught up with “stunts” that are not thought-out long term but rather in what may seem is working for others. Put your best self out there to gain the appropriate attention that you are hoping to attract.
Cultivate And Collaborate In Meaningful Relationships
During this pandemic it has been extremely difficult to do this in a meaningful way. No matter how much the virtual world has saved us throughout this challenging time there is nothing like human interaction. As we re-enter our what seems like olf realities, workplace, in-person meetings, etc. we should continue to be cautious by using socially distanced measures to keep ourselves safe while tending to our mental health of human connection at the same time.
Do not involve or invest in relationships that do not align or promote your best self. Collaborate with those that make your brand shine. We see many collaborations with athletes and celebrities – from LeBron James to Madonna (she set the stage for many current stars) to Michelle Obama. Surround yourself with people who can elevate you and who you can learn from.
Remember that judgments are always passed we cannot help our human nature – remove ourselves from anyone toxic and negative. This sometimes is easier said than done and may require a “weaning out” approach.
Understand Your Differentiators/Niches
List your differentiators/niches. What makes you stand out and how you are different than your competitors in your industry. Build yourself a Personal Brand Strategy. This could start with first listing your non-negotiables. Your message/vision, value-proposition, purpose, future goals, what gives your personal satisfaction and of course future goals. How would you like your legacy to be remembered?
Do Not Overpromise And Underdeliver
Deliverables are also key to your personal brand. Overpromising and underdelivering are the most damaging and destructive to any brand. Keep your promises and ensure first to yourself that you can truly deliver. To develop a reputation as a leader in your industry and in your personal life you must meet the expectations of those in your world – keeping your word. Remember what your non-negotiables are so that you are not starting off on the wrong note.
Invest In Your Visual Representation
The importance of this point is what I built my career on. From fashion designing for women and delivering wearable and carefully constructed collections to advising them on their personal brand. This is now my focus – helping women build a style strategy and doing so in a mindful and pragmatic way. Understanding the difference between fashion and style, what a true and functional Capsule Wardrobe looks like, how fit and tailoring is a game-changer, how your wardrobe can take you to the next level of success. Building an on-going plan and updating to refresh and renew. Your first impression leads to subsequent good impressions leading to success and confidence.
I leave you with these important points and hope that this gives you a jump-start or restart to thinking about your personal brand.
In today’s world and always “You are the influencer of your personal brand” – Fotini