Personal branding is no doubt a hot topic these days! There are numerous recent articles on the subject, ranging from what it is to why you should even care about having one. (If you’re new to this website and don’t yet know the answers to these questions, read here.) It seems that most of us who spend our lives focusing on this topic agree on the following:
- Everyone has a brand – whether crafted or not
- Personal branding must be rooted in authenticity
- Building a reputation starts with identifying your true values and desires
- Being conscious of how you are perceived by others will benefit you
The piece most often left out of discussions on personal branding is the principle of how a personal brand is crafted. Often I see this critical factor chalked up to not much more than “be yourself.” While I agree wholeheartedly with that statement, there’s a lot more to it than that. I’m not talking about the specific tactics but rather the guiding principle behind those tactics. In my experience working with clients across multiple industries and sectors, the guiding principle that successfully moved them from their current brand to their desired brand, was intention. It was the active and conscious decision – every day – to live up to a defined brand promise. Yes, the crucial first step is to spend time and effort identifying your passions and goals and dreams – this is the foundation. But the effort can’t stop there. Identifying what you want your brand to look like is only the first part of the development process.
I have the privilege of advising executives who sit at very different places within their personal branding journey. Some are quite successful in their chosen fields and simply want to extend their credibility or expand their reach. Others sit at the end of a successful career, longing for new success in a completely different field. In every case, our success in the branding process comes from carefully crafting a brand promise and mapping out a strategy for how to live that promise in order to gain the recognition and reputation they desire.
So to all who enter their personal branding journey with a map that only instructs to “be yourself,” I offer the warning of an old cliche – “doing what you always did gets you what you always got.” If your desired brand is a vision that differs from your current one, let’s at least agree that we’re going to embrace a bit more effort than that. And, that achieving the life and legacy we desire is worth every bit of it!