Do you have a goatee? Are you a male that wears pink? Do you wear jeans or a suit and tie to presentations?
Are you a female that prefers expensive handbags? Have long hair or short? Android or iPhone?
When you sit down at a conference room table do you drink Red Bull or bottled water? For that matter, do you drink your water in a glass or non-recyclable plastic? Is it Sam’s Club water or Voss?
In just seconds, like it or not, we process information and form opinions of each other, often filling in the blanks to create and complete our own version of what a person is all about – good or bad, accurate or not.
Social media has made your “personal brand” even more accessible to the masses. The types of content you post on your personal Facebook page, the content you “like,” the conversations you take part in and the pages you follow all are indicators that lead to an impression of you.
So the question is, how do you want people to perceive you? What’s your personal brand and do you even need one?
If you were a business setting out to create a new brand, you’d look at your core purpose, your mission and values. You’d try to identify the “Reasons to Believe” that your business is different. From that point you would form some conclusions and package it all up in a visual expression. Your personality would be carried over into a tone and voice and then marketed to a very specific target audience.
I’m simplifying, of course, and we’re missing important steps in the middle, but generally, that’s the idea.
The first thing you might be tempted to do is ask yourself “what should my brand be?” But really what you should be thinking about is WHY you even need a personal brand in the first place.
The most common reasons for creating a personal brand are to get a better job or be looked at as a thought leader in a specific industry or business category. Much like a branding exercise for a company, define your “WHY.” How do you want others to perceive you? What’s your vision for the future?
Once you’ve found your “WHY,” then find ways to credibly demonstrate it. Brands work very hard to control their messages. They create positioning strategies so their brand isn’t defined haphazardly. They think about their audiences and define specific touch points.
If you’re in a competitive business, your competitors are probably already doing this rather intentionally.
Color psychology would say that the example of the male wearing pink at the beginning of this post is wearing it because pink is the “color for closers,” meaning closing new business.
Pink is associated with compassion and understanding – even innocence. Hey, who wouldn’t trust an innocent guy wearing pink? So is he wearing pink because it’s a strategic advantage for his own personal brand?
And maybe what you’re saying with your Red Bull is that you’re ready to get the job done, nothing will stop you once you’re energized. After all, Red Bull gives you wings, right?
If you want to turn your personal brand into something that works for you start by studying the habits of your industry leaders. Look for where they communicate and how often. What forms your positive impressions of them? Once you decide, be authentic, real and true to who you are.
At least it’s something to think about.