There can be a lot of confusion around what constitutes personal branding so perhaps a useful place to start is by saying what it’s not. It’s not about logos and letterheads. Logos and letterheads are part of your business branding. While of course there’s a connection between the two, i.e. a good business brand for a solo entrepreneur should reflect their personal brand, they are absolutely not the same thing.
Branding is about your business (which of course, if you’re a solo entrepreneur includes you), personal branding is all about you. It’s about how you represent yourself, and how you represent your business, whether yours or the company you work for.
How would you define the ‘you’ in your personal brand? What are the parts that create the whole?
These were the things I came up with when I first started to define it:
• It’s the impression you make
• It’s your personal energy or aura, the essence of you
• It’s the way you engage or communicate with people
• It’s your attitude or mindset
• It’s your reputation, or what you’re known for
Where does it start?
If you had to work out the way these parts all relate to each other, which would come first? My hunch is that you will find it quickly becomes clear that they all rely on each other. They mutually impact each other. What’s important is that together they make up your personal brand.
A simple way of summing all those parts up is this: ‘Your personal brand is what people say about you after you’ve left the room.’ Whatever they are saying is about whichever version of yourself you present, i.e. it doesn’t have to be set in stone. It can be improved on.
If you consistently make a good impression and people are saying what you would want them to be saying, then you have a strong brand. You are presenting your best version of you.
The stronger your brand or the better version of yourself you can present, the more likely you are to attract interest and business.
How can you enhance or strengthen your personal brand?
So what can you do to enhance and strengthen your personal brand? How can you become the brand you would like to be? How do you improve your aura, your attitude or your natural way of communicating?
In exploring that question, I delved further into each of those 5 original parts. I broke them down into what I call the 9 key elements of personal branding, spanning 3 different areas, so that I could create a working model of how to enhance, strengthen and build on your personal brand.
This is the model I came up with:
On the outside – the impression you make.
These are the 3 elements that are immediately obvious to the people around you.
1. Your image, style and body language – the way you dress, your hair, personal grooming, the way you walk, sit and stand, your eye contact, etc.
2. Your voice – its pitch, pace, accent, tone, etc.
3. Your professionalism – your accountability, time-keeping, reliability, knowledge, conversation, etc.
From the Inside – your resilience.
These 3 elements underly the other 6 and are not always so obvious to other people. If any of these are out of kilter, then it’s unlikely you’ll present your best version of you.
4. Your physical and emotional wellbeing – your health, diet, fitness, pain management, anxiety management, sleep patterns, etc.
5. Your mindset – your attitude, drive, map of the world, etc.
6. Your ownership of your strengths – confidence in own ability, acknowledgment of areas of less strength, responsibility, etc.
Over and above – your skillset
These 3 elements are key skills that are integral to your personal brand. They impact the impression you make and mutually impact your resilience or mindset, i.e. the more skilled you are, the more confident you become, etc.
These too are obvious to other people but are different from the On the Outside group as they are skills that can be practised and learnt.
7. Presentation Skills – giving presentations to clients, colleagues or collaborators with confidence and clarity.
8. Networking skills – connecting with others, building rapport and relationships, following up, giving and supporting, etc.
9. Client conversations – handling conversations effectively to achieve a win win outcome
By breaking personal branding down into these 9 key elements, it now becomes possible to look at your own brand in more detail. If you can see that there is a mismatch between some of them, i.e. you are stronger in some elements than others, then what can you do to bring the less strong one in line?
Whether you like it or not, you make an impression on everyone you meet, in the same way that you form an impression of them.
My final questions to you are this:
Is that impression the one you would like to be making, and, if not, what can you do to change that?
If you haven’t yet downloaded your free copy of my Personal Brand Audit then click here now to do that.
Or why not get in touch? Please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a call on how I can help you.
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