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Personal Branding – Discovering the Authentic You

Everyone has a personal brand, but not everyone acknowledges it and manages it proactively. Some people don’t like the term “personal brand” as they feel people aren’t brands. Some people think that it is a thinly veiled term for self-promotion, publicity or image management.

In fact, your personal brand is so much more. It is a way of consistently projecting a true, authentic view of you, your expertise and your promise of value to the marketplace.

The personal branding process enables you to:

Discover who you are, develop a consistent image and make it visible both in person and through your web presence to provide value for your audience.

Why is personal branding important?

Personal Branding Process

Personal Branding Process

Having a strong personal brand is important to your success or the success of your small business. Even if you work in a corporate position, it is important that your company support its employees in developing their individual personal brands. A personal brand:

  • Helps you to clearly and consistently project who you are, what you do and why you do it;
  • Is a promise of value to those with whom you work;
  • Answers the question what makes you different and why;
  • Allows you to focus on your strengths and follow your passion.

Passion, Purpose and Personal Branding

Understanding and following your passion and purpose, whether it is the reason why you chose to go into business for yourself or the career choice you made, is the key to your personal brand. The purpose – the emotional connections you make with those you help – is why some people naturally want to connect with you and not someone else in the same field. And if you are passionate about what you do and are comfortable with the way you are perceived, your confidence will start to become contagious.

Benefits of a strong personal brand

  • Increases visibility and value:  You become the expert for those needing your solution, increasing your value in their eyes and allowing you to charge fairly for your services.
  • Increases confidence: When your brand is strong, authentic and compelling, it increases the confidence you have in yourself and projects that confidence to everyone around you. We all know people want to be around strong, confident and successful people and having this strong brand becomes your beacon in the sea of business owners.
  • Raises credibility and authority: The more you establish yourself as the authority and expert in your area, the more people seek you out. People want to work with the experts and although someone may be just as good as you, if they aren’t known through their personal brand, they will be hidden.
  • Sets expectations: Your personal brand speaks volumes about what you can do and how you will do it, differentiating you from your peers, colleagues and competitors.
  • Influences whether your prospects buy from you or your competitor. Your passion and purpose will attract those that will want to work with you.
  • Creates trust with your prospects and clients. A strong personal brand that is well developed adds an emotional attachment that becomes part of the decision-making process.

An exercise that will help you figure out your personal brand regardless of whether you are just starting to develop it or have one, is to answer the following questions as if you were developing your personal marketing plan. To help with this exercise, I’ve adapted the my marketing plan template to help you jot down your answers.

  • What is your passion and purpose?
  • What are your values? What do you stand for?
  • What are your short term and long term goals? Where do you want to be in a year? Three years?
  • How do you want to be perceived? (i.e. linear, focused, collaborative, connected, expert, ethical, etc.)
  • What are your core strengths? What are your weaknesses? (not to beat yourself up but to understand them so you don’t try to pursue something where one of your weaknesses is mandatory)
  • How do other people describe you?
  • Who is your target audience? Who do you want to work with or for?
  • Who is your competition?
  • What makes you the ideal choice for your target audience to do business with you rather than your competition, i.e. what makes you different?

Finding your personal brand is not a quick exercise. It takes time and thought to really know your passion and purpose in life. And sometimes it evolves through comments people make, people you start to work with and seeing yourself with a different perspective.

Have you started discovering your personal brand and does it work for you?

©2012 Masterful Marketing. All Rights Reserved.

Personal Branding – Discovering the Authentic You is an original post from Debra Murphy, Small Business Marketing Coach: Masterful Marketing - Marketing in the New Media World. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Debra on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

Join The Conversation

  • Jan 25 Posted 5 years ago WalterAkana

    Excellent, Debra! I see it better now. So, what you are saying really is "establish" your identity. In that sense, you are absolutely right!! Your post is wonderful in emphasizing authenticity!!! 

  • Debra Murphy's picture
    Jan 24 Posted 5 years ago Debra Murphy

    Hi Walter,

    Thanks to you as well! What I meant about create your identity is pulling all the pieces together so you project a consistent image. But you are correct in that you need to communicate it consistently as well, which is the third part of the diagram - making "you" visible. I do see people trying to create visibility for themselves or their small business, but haven't thought through the message, image and in some ways, the tone that they use to communicate their value.

  • Debra Murphy's picture
    Jan 24 Posted 5 years ago Debra Murphy

    Hi David,

    Thanks! Yes, I agree but isn't that vulnerability what makes people more interesting? We're confident and have solid expertise, but we're not perfect so one needs to make sure that the imperfections show as well. People trust you more when they can see the human side of you.

  • David Amerland's picture
    Jan 24 Posted 5 years ago David Amerland

    Nice post and it highlights perfectly the need for authenticity. Some time ago I did a piece on writers and one thing which is a requirement which needs to be used judiciously but which cannot be faked, is projecting a sense of vulnerability which comes with the degree of openness authenticity requires.  

  • Jan 24 Posted 5 years ago WalterAkana

    Great post, Debra! I really like your emphasis on "discovering who you are" as part of the process. Where I think you got off track a bit is in "create your identity." What you’re really talking about is communicating who you are and what you offer. It may seem like a small point, but it's what gets people most confused and off track about personal brand. 



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