Your Personal Brand: Who are you?
Branding can be an exciting and deeply meaningful venture. However, personal branding often leaves even the most creative individuals stuck in their tracks.
How do you find a way to present yourself that truly reflects you? One that connects the dots between your past experiences and your future plans? One you feel excited to share? Where do you begin?
Start with Why
Years ago, Simon Sinek unleashed a powerful idea on the business community – “Start with why.” It was the subject of one of the most watched TED Talks of all time and one of Simon’s most popular books. The core concept was:
People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it – Simon Sinek
It was a simple idea that took the world by storm. It felt revolutionary for companies to think about “why” as part of a message to engage prospects and customers. And your “why” is also an important part of your personal brand. But there is another question that goes beyond the “why” and is even more important, and that is “who” – who are you?
A Journey to Who
Imagine that we’re climbing a mountain and the journey symbolizes building your brand.
We begin this mountain climb at a place called Base Camp. Base Camp represents the categorical level of your work. Here, we define your profession or field. But Base Camp can be crowded, because there are many other people who are doing similar work. For example, take Nike as a brand: at Base Camp, they are an athletic wear company, mixed in with many other companies.
To get clearer about our brand and stand out from the crowd, we’ll have to climb higher.
At Camp 2 we think about the products and services you provide. What do you sell? Let’s say you work for a multi-level marketing company. Camp 2 would be the products you represent whether it’s skincare, nutritional products, or kitchen gadgets. Or if you are a consultant – what are your areas of consulting? At Nike, they sell running shoes, basketball sneakers, athletic apparel, equipment and more.
Your offerings are a core part of your story, but they aren’t going to make a quick impact if you lead with them in your brand messaging. To make that impact, we really need to climb higher.
Camp 3 is about benefits. This is where a lot of sales training programs focus. It’s important to answer your client and customer’s question (or even your team’s question), “what’s in it for me?” What are the pain points that your products or services solve? For Nike, it’s about sweating less, running faster, jumping higher. Their benefits are about performance.
But, we can still climb higher.
Welcome to passion camp. Here’s where we meet Simon Sinek and answer the question, “Why?” Why are you in this business? Why are you the perfect person to be offering these products or services? What is the underlying passion and purpose that only you bring to the game? Here’s where you can really begin to differentiate yourself. Your brand message personalized, refined, and engaging on a totally different level. With Nike, this is where we get their famous slogan – Just Do It.
Just Do It taps into something so deeper. It doesn’t mention sneakers. It doesn’t even mention performance. Instead, it taps into the inspiration that fuels the Nike brand. That inspiration…is what brings us to the Summit.
At the top, your brand becomes a story that truly reflects who you are. We think about the Nike brand through the Archetypal storyline of the Hero. You too can determine which Archetypal characters reflect who you are, and use these storylines as a powerful blueprint for your personal brand story.
At the Summit, you stand out from the crowd, yet you’re also standing on a solid foundation. Your story has depth, yet you’ve refined the message to a point where others can quickly connect. You’ve found an authentic way to represent yourself that sums up the deeper passions and factual pieces of your business.
You’ll also find, that in reaching the Summit, you’ve elevated your brand from logical, left-brained messages about what you do to a much more compelling, emotional way of selling who you are. That’s the right side of the brain and that’s where you want to be – because really, people buy based on emotion and when you arrive here, people will remember you.
The Story of You
I hope this simple illustration provided some new insight on personal branding. In our online class – Build Your Personal Brand – we teach a 7-step process to do the work for yourself.
This process includes uncovering your own Archetypal storylines through an online survey that taps into your underlying whys – your beliefs, passions, and perceptions, what motivates you and how you interact with others. The answers to these questions really influence who you are, what you care about and how you show up.
Then you use your Archetypes as a blueprint for building a brand that is uniquely you.