Getting started with personal branding

Getting started with personal branding

I was surprised a few weeks ago when a good  friend of mine, Octavio Rojas, owner/director of the public relations agency  tú a tú asked me to give a talk on personal branding. Personal branding isn’t an official speciality of mine, but when Octavio explained the focus he wanted, I understood his choice of speaker. The title of the talk was ‘Preparing for Successful Personal Branding’ and focused on what we have to think about before we contemplate a personal branding strategy. The foundation for successful personal branding is having a clear and strong sense of self, and that’s what I do – help people to be clear about who they are.

Basically, personal branding is all about defining who you are, determining the value you offer and making yourself visible to your target audience.

I thought I’d dedicate this post to what I see as the most fundamental part of personal branding and certainly the first step in constructing  a clear brand – defining who you are.

Who are you?

Now the question ‘who am I?’ is a BIG question.  It’s probably the most important question you’ll ever have to answer.

Some people go through their whole life never considering who they really are!

So I’m going to give you some essential questions to reflect on and get you started.

1. What are your values? – via coaching I discovered that my core values were integrity, growth and freedom and everything I do now connects in some way to these core values. I soon know if I’m involved with something that doesn’t align with my core values – I don’t feel good.

A simple way of discovering your values is to ask yourself: what is important to me? It could be things like reliability, generosity, integrity, fun, security, love, freedom ….you decide. To get even clearer around core values another valuable question is: what hurts when it’s missing? If a core value of yours is freedom and you have very little of it, you will be feeling miserable and depressed because a core need of yours isn’t being fulfilled.

The next question I would ask you is:

2. What is your style? – is it calm, energetic, thorough?

Next question:

3. What are your passions? We often hear that we should ‘follow our passion’ and I’m a great advocate of that as I know that when you do follow your passion, immense energy is unleashed and inspiration is easily accessed. How do you identify your passions? Well, think about the moments when time seems to stop for you, when you’ve been doing something for a few hours and it only feels like  minutes have passed; this is called flow. What are you doing in these moments? Are you writing, networking, drawing, solving problems, organizing something, cooking?

4. What are your core strengths and skills? Where do you excel?

If you work for a company, in what area would they have a hard time replacing you? It could be identifying problems, delegating, crunching numbers, negotiating, leadership…

5. What is your vision and purpose? – Where and how do you want to make a difference? Is this aligned with your values, strengths and skills? This is a question that is mainly asked of ourselves later in life, but it’s worth reflecting on it earlier. Deep down we all have a desire to contribute to something that has a meaning greater than ourselves.

So there you have some questions to get you started on the first stage of personal branding. It may seem like hard work, particularly if you haven’t reflected on these type of questions before, but consider it as laying a foundation, and foundations are solid; they support what lies on top. Without doing some serious work on discovering who you are and subsequently where and how you can offer value, any personal branding strategy will run the risk of being incoherent and inconsistent.I was surprised a few weeks ago when a good  friend of mine, Octavio Rojas, owner/director of the public relations agency  tú a tú asked me to give a talk on personal branding. Personal branding isn’t an official speciality of mine, but when Octavio explained the focus he wanted, I understood his choice of speaker. The title of the talk was ‘Preparing for Successful Personal Branding’ and focused on what we have to think about before we contemplate a personal branding strategy. The foundation for successful personal branding is having a clear and strong sense of self, and that’s what I do – help people to be clear about who they are.

Basically, personal branding is all about defining who you are, determining the value you offer and making yourself visible to your target audience.

I thought I’d dedicate this post to what I see as the most fundamental part of personal branding and certainly the first step in constructing  a clear brand – defining who you are.

Who are you?

Now the question ‘who am I?’ is a BIG question.  It’s probably the most important question you’ll ever have to answer.

Some people go through their whole life never considering who they really are!

So I’m going to give you some essential questions to reflect on and get you started.

1. What are your values? – via coaching I discovered that my core values were integrity, growth and freedom and everything I do now connects in some way to these core values. I soon know if I’m involved with something that doesn’t align with my core values – I don’t feel good.

A simple way of discovering your values is to ask yourself: what is important to me? It could be things like reliability, generosity, integrity, fun, security, love, freedom ….you decide. To get even clearer around core values another valuable question is: what hurts when it’s missing? If a core value of yours is freedom and you have very little of it, you will be feeling miserable and depressed because a core need of yours isn’t being fulfilled.

The next question I would ask you is:

2. What is your style? – is it calm, energetic, thorough?

Next question:

3. What are your passions? We often hear that we should ‘follow our passion’ and I’m a great advocate of that as I know that when you do follow your passion, immense energy is unleashed and inspiration is easily accessed. How do you identify your passions? Well, think about the moments when time seems to stop for you, when you’ve been doing something for a few hours and it only feels like  minutes have passed; this is called flow. What are you doing in these moments? Are you writing, networking, drawing, solving problems, organizing something, cooking?

4. What are your core strengths and skills? Where do you excel?

If you work for a company, in what area would they have a hard time replacing you? It could be identifying problems, delegating, crunching numbers, negotiating, leadership…

5. What is your vision and purpose? – Where and how do you want to make a difference? Is this aligned with your values, strengths and skills? This is a question that is mainly asked of ourselves later in life, but it’s worth reflecting on it earlier. Deep down we all have a desire to contribute to something that has a meaning greater than ourselves.

So there you have some questions to get you started on the first stage of personal branding. It may seem like hard work, particularly if you haven’t reflected on these type of questions before, but consider it as laying a foundation, and foundations are solid; they support what lies on top. Without doing some serious work on discovering who you are and subsequently where and how you can offer value, any personal branding strategy will run the risk of being incoherent and inconsistent.

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