What Makes You Unique?
Mark Twain used to say that everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it. People do a lot of talking about things like branding too, but I’m not sure that many know what to do about that either. A brand can seem as nebulous as the weather . . . how do you get your head around what a personal brand is?
I can just about hear my uncle Everett saying, “Personal brand, what are you talking about? I’m not a pair of shoes, and I don’t care what you say, I’m not for sale at any price.”
Ironically, that remark is a branding statement if I’ve ever heard one.
What a Personal Brand Is
Uncle Everett underscores the idea of a personal brand well and articulately – he communicates who he is in a way that others believe in it.
Your brand is you and all you are and ever will be. It’s your uniqueness, your skills and abilities, your image, your traits, and your potential. Your brand is how you as a person will fill a need in a way that no other person can.
Everything about you contributes to your personal brand – everything you say or don’t say, what you wear, your tone of voice, the look of your space, the look on your face, the way you shake hands. The quality of your work is an immense part of your brand, but not, by any means, all of it. Even there it matters whether it’s on time, done with friendliness, with teamwork, with innovation and flexibility.
Forging a Personal Brand
From Uncle Everett’s bald head to his baggy pants, his love for the Chicago Cubs and his fierce devotion to his family were all easy to see.
To forge a strong personal brand takes self-awareness. Think deeply so that you can do these things well.
- Identify your strengths and your weaknesses.
- Capitalize on your strengths.
- Find valid ways to make your weaknesses irrelevant.
- Determine how you uniquely fit a job market need.
- Describe and define that unique fit as your personal brand.
- Determine how your image can communicate your brand.
- Complete the “big idea” by checking all that you do supports your personal brand.
Sounds like a lot, but the closer you get to refining it to the smallest detail, the more credible your brand will be. Why? Because you will be living it. A personal brand is what you ARE, not how you act.
Everett knew that being who you are is a bond with the community. It the basis on which all relationships are forged. Being any less and you’re only a bad facsimile of what you could be. Your personal brand can be the strongest advantage you bring to your business life.
Be brand YOU and you’re the only one. No one can compete with that.
The best way to promote your business is by living your brand.
–ME “Liz” Strauss