We all have a brand whether you are consciously aware or unaware it is there. The more aware you are that it is there the more you can make it work for you.
At the very heart of our personality are things that we value in life. This is often the very reason “Why” we do what we do. Simon Sinek’s brilliant book “Start with Why” says it is not what we do or how we do it, the best start is the “why”. This is the very core of your brand, why you get up in the morning and why you wear that particular jacket.
If we internally know the route of our decisions in life we start to form a frame of reference, for people to associate with. These are not just external indicators as to whether you are smart or casual in your dress sense, but the more fundamental character traits, are you reliable and honest. Leading brands are very clever at having clear frames of reference, what do they want to be known for e.g. are they a family product, healthy, original taste etc…
People will make assumptions within seconds of meeting us. So how do we ensure we project our personal brand. We need to sit down initially and think why do we do what we do and what does that tell us about our frame of reference. The two combined give you an idea of what packaging/clothing compliments that brand.
Personal branding is not just when you meet some-one face to face. Our brand now extends to our social media, so if you want to be taken seriously having a beach shot on your LinkedIn profile will not match your brand. Look at your working environment an extension of your brand, how does it look? Is it efficient, a word you had in your frame of reference, no-one would really like a perception of messy.
The word “professional” is very over used and what we really are trying to define is an effective personal brand. Think about the memory you leave in people’s minds – “What shadow do you cast?” and remember it is not just the first time you meet them, you will leave that memory/shadow it is all the time.