Personal branding is about having clarity on who you are, what you do, and why you do what you do. In that way a personal brand is almost indistinguishable from a business brand. There’s a lot of talk these days about how to create a personal brand, especially for leaders. To do this, we must create a true brand mindset for ourselves—and a brand mindset is really the equivalent of a growth mindset – that commitment to a continuous process, not some one-and-done exercise.
Whether we are talking about personal branding – growing your influence and impact as an individual – or business branding – growing your influence and impact as an organization – there are really three fundamentals you must nail down:
1. Consistency - defining your area of expertise and authority.
2. Frequency – telling your unique perspective at regular, reliable intervals
3. And then there’s Visibility. Most brands tend to skip over one or more of the foundational questions that follow and rush to become visible. So, read on to see what you must have clarity about before you grow your visibility, or risk the overwhelming task of rebranding yourself.
What Are Your Core Strengths?
Answer these questions to gain insight into the core strengths that set you apart from the competition. Be as thorough as you can when answering these questions. Put down anything that comes to your mind.
What unique strengths do you have?
Maybe you are particularly good at seeing the big picture? Or maybe you’re able to see opportunities where others see challenges. Or perhaps you’re unusually good at motivating people.
What unique insights do you bring to the table?
Do you have unique insight into why some people self-sabotage their efforts? Or maybe you understand why certain people struggle to lose weight. Or maybe you have unique clarity as to why some people get easily overwhelmed.
What are your core beliefs about yourself and others?
Maybe you believe that everyone has unlimited untapped potential. Or that everyone has the power to be self-disciplined. Or that everyone can be organized if they have the right system.
What do you have perspectives on that others do not?
Do you have a unique perspective on productivity due to your own struggles and successes? Or maybe you’ve developed a unique exercise method that helps people get in shape. Or perhaps you’ve transformed yourself from unmotivated to highly motivated and so have a unique perspective on the subject.
What skills do you possess that others don’t?
Are you particularly skilled in setting up systems to help people achieve their goals? Or are you uniquely able to help people achieve their financial goals? Or perhaps you’re incredibly good at motivating people to get healthy.
What expertise do you have that sets you apart?
Do you have special nutritional training which you use to help people lose weight? Or are you an expert in attracting and keeping wealth? Or are you particularly skilled at helping others navigate toxic relationships?
What Do You Stand For?
Answer these questions to get insight into who you are personally, as well as what motivates and drives you. The answers to these questions will help you craft your personal brand.
What are your core values?
What things matter to you most? Excellence? Honesty? Living holistically? Achieving financial independence? Getting into shape?
What are you most passionate about?
What gets you fired up? What do you love helping others to do? Do you love helping them get organized? Or helping them achieve their biggest goals? Or helping people overcome self-limiting beliefs?
How can you most effectively serve your core audience?
How can you most effectively resolve the challenges that others struggle with? What are you uniquely good at? If you put all your skills, experiences, and insights together, how can you use them to add value to your audience?
What do you have to offer that no one else does?
What skills, experiences, insights, and expertise do you have to offer that sets you apart from everyone else? What makes you unique? How do you solve problems in a way that no one else does? What benefit is there to working with you that can’t be found anywhere else?
What’s Your Brand’s Why?
Answer these questions to determine what you want to accomplish with your brand. These will help guide you in terms of your overall brand direction and Unique Service Proposition.
What would I like to accomplish, both personally and professionally?
What do you want to do with your life and how does that flow into your business? Who do you want to help? Why do you want to help them? When you look back on your life, what do you hope to see?
What do I want to be known for?
When people talk about you, what do you want them to say? What do you want to be the first thing that comes to their minds when they think about you? How would you summarize yourself in a single sentence?
If I could be the world’s foremost expert on a topic, what would it be?
If you could be known as the “go-to” person on a given topic, what would that topic be? What subject do you most want to help people with?
What key message do I want to communicate?
What is the core message that you want to communicate to others? If you had to sum up the core of your message in a single sentence, what would it be? If you had to sum up your message in a single word, what it would be?
If I could only give one piece of advice, what would it be?
If you could only tell people one big thing that would help them, what would you tell them? If you had to distill your core message down to a single piece of advice, what would that be?
Who Do You Serve?
Now it’s time to identify your core audience. These are the people whom you can serve most effectively. Answer these questions to identify your ideal clients.
Who can I most effectively help?
Given all your skills, passions, insights, and experience, what specific group of people can you help most effectively? Why can you help them? What pain points will you solve? Why this group and not another group?
Who will benefit most from my skill set and knowledge?
What group of people most needs the skills and knowledge you possess? Why do they need this knowledge? How will you use your skills and knowledge to help them?
Who am I most passionate about serving?
What group of people do you care most about helping? Why do you care so much about helping these people? What experiences have you had that make you passionate about serving this group?
Who will resonate most with me and my brand?
What are the demographics (age, gender, income, etc.) of the people who will resonate most with your brand? What are their big desires and what is keeping them from achieving those desires? What is their desired future and how will you help them achieve this future?
Crafting Your Unique Service Proposition
Now it’s time to take everything from the above points and to distill it into your Unique Service Proposition. Your USP is the essence of your brand, the heart of who you are. It doesn’t have to be everything about your brand, but it should get to the core of what you do and who you help.
Your USP should follow this formula:
I help (target person) to (achieve X) so that they can (outcome).
I help overwhelmed executives get their lives back under control so that they feel peace and freedom.
I help out of shape people get physically fit so that they can experience long, healthy, freedom-filled lives.
I help entrepreneurs scale their businesses to six-figures so that they can achieve their financial goals.
Not all personal brands are social media influencers – in fact, very few are. Rising within an organization or stepping out on your own, as many are currently doing, demands you develop, hone and use your personal brand in networking, around the proverbial water cooler and in every interaction you have. Remember, you are your own best brand ambassador.