Well, what is your story? How do you think others perceive you? Is it in a good or bad light? More importantly, do you really care? Easy answer: you should, and here’s why.
Examining, understanding and developing your own narrative is key to formulating a personal mantra, a vision, a brand. It’s like art, where you sketch a portrait to determine the overall outline before you begin capturing the inner as well as outer traits of the model. Then you begin on filling in the portrait with various hues and textures accordingly. If this sounds like an arduous task, it is! However, what one really doesn’t want to develop is a mask that’s hiding the truth. You want to develop your brand as close to the real you as possible.
You are Your Own Brand
Brand development has become big business; an industry cliché that’s beloved by marketing and communications specialists worldwide. Where most brands fail is when the message over-reaches or under-delivers and hides the core failures or inadequacies of the brand.
But have you ever realised you too are a brand?
In the communications industry, there are five fundamental steps to developing an effective brand. Firstly, you need to conduct an audit, which on the personal side means having a candid, self-examination of your values, attributes and deficiencies (areas that need more work).
Secondly, develop a unique statement or value proposition that basically states what you are about. For companies like Republic Bank, we are about delivering excellent customer service with integrity. Whereas, your personal brand may be more intuitive or reflective; one that may, for instance, include having greater balance between your professional and personal life, while excelling in your career goals. My best advice is to be realistic yet inclusive and creative in your views.
Thirdly, develop your brand’s creative elements and implement strategies to truly establish this identity. Your comments on Facebook and Instagram, the places you go to for entertainment, the persons with whom you associate or spend time, the clubs you visit, places of worship, volunteer groups you join – these all create an identity that enriches (or perhaps detracts) from your personal brand.
Fourth and finally, analyse and refine the brand and make sure it’s what you believe in and desire. This is an ongoing process. People change and grow, as do their personal brands. It’s most important to make sure your brand is an authentic representation of who you are and you can deliver on the promises made. This translates well for budding entrepreneurs as well, since fine-tuning their personal brands helps them create a business that reflects who they truly are.
Understand yourself to know your goals and understand your mission in order to achieve your vision.
“To thine own self be true.”, a Shakespearean truism, which ironically, is stated by Polonius, one of the most disreputable characters in Hamlet. Yet, it is excellent advice that should be taken to heart. Self-analysis and self- awareness are at the heart of brand development.