When I speak to audiences and my students about developing their “Personal Brand”, there is always a bit of confusion on what exactly I mean.

 

And I get it of course, I mean, a brand is something that we find on the shelf at the store or possibly something we search for on Google.

 

How can there be such a thing as a “Personal Brand”? And furthermore, what would that even look like?

 

The term branding has long been associated with companies and their products, but in today’s world of connectivity (Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Youtube etc.) every individual has a personal brand.

 

“Personal Brand is what people say about you when you leave the room,” according to Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com.  

 

Now, take that statement and imagine the room being roughly the size of planet earth.

 

The world has basically been dwarfed by our ability to find out anything, having to do with just about anybody…in literally just a few strokes of a keyboard.

 

So, let me ask you a VERY serious question….What are people saying about you?

 

This might be a difficult question to answer…truthfully.

 

But the answer to that question could mean the difference between success and failure.

 

Your Personal Brand Components

 

Your personal brand is your story, your reputation; it’s what you are known for, and how people experience you.

 

The components of your personal brand are:

  • how you speak,
  • how you introduce yourself,
  • your attitude,
  • how you treat others,
  • how you dress, and your posture,
  • what you are known for,
  • And your level of expertise, skills, and strengths.

Most people look at this list and start to think about their daily physical interactions with individuals and groups….but it goes much further than that.

 

Today our brands also have a digital footprint.

 

Every single time you LIKE, SHARE, COMMENT or POST on the internet, you are doing so as a representative of your “Personal Brand”.

 

Just like a consumer product brand must be very strategic on how they interact on the internet, so must you.

 

We all know how quickly something can go wrong with a seemingly innocent Tweet or Facebook post.

 

Yes, even with a personal social media account…you must be strategic. A brand has to think about what the result will be from their actions. How that single interaction might be perceived. You too, must think about outside perception.

 

Outside perception is what shapes your “Personal Brand”.

 

Once you determine how you want your brand to be perceived, you can be much more strategic about shaping it.

 

So, back to the VERY important question, what does your personal brand say about you?

 

Do you like it? Do you agree with how you are being perceived? Does it match the “brand message” that you want to put out to the world, your network…and most importantly…your employer?

 

If not, let’s make the necessary changes!

 

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Taking Action

 

Here are few steps to run through as you move through your interactions…whether they be in the physical world or the cyber world.

 

  1. Flash Forward – Take a moment to think about who you want to be and what you want people to say about you. Have a true idea of who this person is, how they handle themselves and how people feel about them. It is almost like viewing and thinking of yourself in the 3rd person.
  2. Wait – Be deliberate in your voice, reactions, messages, tone and stance. To truly do this, you must take a moment and “wait” before you speak or type. Quick reactions or responses can really take a moment and turn it in an unintentional direction.
  3. Be Strategic – Now, I am not suggesting that you be unauthentic. You must be true to who you are as only authentic brands are successful brands, but you must be strategic enough to align you actions and words with your desired “Personal Brand”.

Basically, just be aware enough to realize that your actions can change the way you are perceived…and we all know the old but true saying.

 

Perception is reality…and that reality can either get you that promotion or stall your career.

 

YOUR PERSONAL VALUE PROPOSITION

 

Now that you have your “Personal Brand” mapped out and preceding you down your chosen path, it is time to think about what your “Personal Brand” offers your colleagues, company or employer.

 

What is a Personal Value Proposition?

 

Your personal value proposition is at the heart of your career strategy.

 

In its simplest form, it is the problem you solve, and the pain that you relieve for your employer.

 

Your personal value proposition differentiates you from others and makes you uniquely qualified for a position.

 

It’s why they hired you, or why they should hire you…and not someone else.

 

Value Propositions are all around us. As consumers, we evaluate them at every turn.

 

For example, automobile brands spend 10’s of millions of dollars each year trying to appeal to the masses through their strategic value propositions….

 

These come in the form of safety features, technology features, cutting edge upgrades, modern connectivity…and now even hands free driving.

 

For me…Jeep has won my heart. I have an emotional tie to the Jeep value proposition. It goes beyond upgrades, technology and crazy robot driving cars…

 

Jeep’s value proposition of Freedom, Adventure, American Heritage and Good Old Hard Work, is what resonates with me. This value proposition has caused me to continue to rebuild my beautiful, (25 year old) everyday driver, Jeep Wrangler (complete with a cassette deck).

 

I am forever a Jeep fan.

 

How do you turn your customer, client, current or future employer into a forever fan?

 

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Discover Your Personal Proposition

 

So, what is your personal value proposition?  Could you explain what sets you apart from “the next best option”?

 

Taking Action

 

Here are a few steps to discovering and developing your Personal Value Proposition:

 

  1. Ask your colleagues what sets you apart. For some this might seem awkward but these are people that spend a good deal of time with you and are very in touch with what you can offer. Plus, nothing is more telling than a peer assessment.
  2. Review past performance appraisals. What were things that you to your past employers that they found great value in. Do you still possess and utilize these skills? If so, how can you expand on them…and if not…why?
  3. Select and write down your accomplishment stories to determine challenges you were presented with and how you overcame them. What problems are you great a solving?

 

Looking Forward

 

Understanding your personal brand and value proposition, and the power to influence how they impact your future, is critical to long-term success, however as you define it.

 

During my successful career as an HR Director in a Fortune 500 company, I did not leverage the power of my brand and value proposition.

 

In fact, I didn’t fully understand how powerful they were until I was on the other side of the table, navigating through my own career transition.

 

Challenge

 

My challenge to you is to do a deep dive into both of these brand and value components of ‘You.”

 

Record your findings and turn them into clear and defined statements. These statements should be the jumping off point for your career path strategy. They should be referred to often and adjusted if necessary…but all times these statements should reflect who you are and what power you bring to the table.

 

Establish your brand, understand your personal value proposition, and strategically target your next opportunity.

 

Free Video Course - Personal Branding For Professional Growth

If you are wanting some additional help in developing your Personal Brand and Value Proposition, then I highly recommend you sign up for my FREE COURSE: Personal Branding For Professional Growth. This 100% free video series, I will walk you through the reasons why this is so very important to you success and guide you through the process of creating this jumping off point for career management.

 

If you enjoyed this article, I would appreciate a comment below and please as always feel free to share it with your networks!

 

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HOW TO: Create Your Personal Brand and Value Proposition

time to read: 6 min

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