In a parallel dimension, there’s probably a version of PHL Branding that goes like this: Instead of working with companies, we work with people to help them define their own personal brand strategy. Instead of offering creative services, we match people with stylists, photographers and writers to bring their brand to life through their fashion, headshot, and resume. Instead of helping to drive awareness and sales growth, we help individuals drive more “leads” for a given objective – maybe that’s getting more job interviews or earning more speaking engagements. Heck, it might even mean getting more dates!
It’s an interesting business idea, for sure, but it’s not exactly likely to be a profitable one. So, we’ll give away a few pointers for free.
The reality is that many things in life actually boil down to branding and messaging – how do you effectively position yourself with potential employers, sales contacts, your peers, or your boss? How do you ensure that you become known for something unique, which in turn makes you highly desirable and sought after? If you can accomplish these things, you have the potential to be considered for more opportunities, to earn more money, and to (maybe) be happier than you already are.
Sound good? That’s why it’s important to work on your personal brand. Here are four quick tips that you can begin applying today to define and activate your personal brand.
(Side note: We actually have a personal branding template that you can work from. Just request it from us and we’ll send it your way.)
Tip 1: You Are Not Changing Who You Are
Your personal brand is actually about deepening who you are, not changing who you are. Authenticity is absolutely key – people can smell fakery from a mile away. You need to enter into your personal branding exercise with a mission to define who you are with clarity and intentionality, as opposed to trying to make yourself into someone you’re not.
Tip 2: How to Build Out Your Messaging
We built our personal branding template from studying some of the top personal brands that are out there, and then systematizing the core messaging ingredients that we observed most frequently.
Here are the areas you’ll want to take the time to define as part of your personal branding exercise:
- Origin story: What parts of your personal history make you, you? This adds authenticity and personality to your personal brand.
- Core philosophy: What do you believe in when it comes to business? To life? This starts to create an ideology that others can identify with and adhere to.
- Business link: How does who you are make you better in your business? This acts to tie together your personal brand with your company.
- Higher purpose: This is critical – what’s your “why”? It’s essential to define what gives you energy and a sense of fulfillment. And to align your work and life around this sense of purpose.
- Proof points: What parts of your bio “prove” that your personal brand positioning and purpose is real? This might highlight companies you’ve worked for, awards you’ve received, or personal accomplishments. This ensures that you are communicating “walk,” not just “talk”.
- Brand tone: Are you passionate? Are you scientific and logical? Are you energetic? This is important to capture so that you can infuse a voice and energy to anything from your bio to your personal headshot.
- Delivery channels: How do you plan to get your messaging out there to the masses? Hint: Social media is pretty good at this.
- Positioning: This is the ultimate summary of what makes you, you. It pulls together everything – your purpose, your credentials, your philosophy – and very clearly and tightly defines how you position your personal brand in the world at large. This gives you clarity and understanding of your personal brand.
Tip 3: Begin to Inject Your Personal Brand into Foundational Touchpoints
Now you have your messages. But your personal brand won’t ever be known if it isn’t communicated. One of the easiest ways to ensure that it’s communicated is to inject it into key, foundational touchpoints. Take the messaging you’ve defined above, and ensure that it’s effectively communicated in touchpoints like:
- Your resume/CV
- Your personal bio
- Your “elevator pitch” (how you introduce yourself)
- Your headshot (does it look credible? Does it have the “tone” that you are seeking to communicate?)
- Your social media profiles
Tip 4: Create Intentionality for Ongoing Communication of Your Personal Brand
The foundational work above will pay dividends: Whenever you introduce yourself, someone reads your bio, or someone views your social media profile, you’ll be communicating your personal brand. But, you still need to continue communicating that brand with regularity.
This takes discipline and focus. It goes back to some of the intentionality that we’ve referenced in past articles – you need to commit yourself to certain activities that will build your personal brand. This might mean a single social media post a week. It might mean producing a video per month. It could mean securing a speaking engagement each quarter. Whatever it is, you need to write these activities down, block them out on your calendar, and then do them, without fail.
Ensure that with every one of these activities, you’re using your personal brand. Maybe that’s talking about your origin story, or referencing an article that supports your core philosophy.
Looking to get started? Don’t forget to take a look at our personal branding template and you can start to define these things for yourself.