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YOU ARE YOUR BRAND
Personal branding? The presentation request just made me cringe.
Personal branding? The presentation request just made me cringe. As an avowed introvert, I am uncomfortable sharing who I am or my detailed thoughts with people I do not know. Nevertheless, I got to work and discovered that the thought process was enjoyable for me. It forced me to stop and think and organize, which is something I love to do. In short, it was a defining moment for me as I pulled together "the 4 Ps of personal branding," so I hope you find them helpful.
Let's start with a simple definition of the term - "personal branding" - and, to do that, we must break them apart for individual consideration. "Personal" is the easy part - it is who you are. The real you. The one that you love to be that often is hidden. "Branding" simply means that you want others to create relationships with who you really are. This requires intentional thought that you put into leaving a legacy. It is a specific decision on what you will be best known for. To get you thinking, answer these 3 questions:
Who are you when nobody is around?
What words do you want others to use in describing you?
After you have died, how do you want others to remember you?
Clearly, the first "P" was PERSONAL; so, let's quickly shift to number 2 - PURPOSE. No! Do not go right into the process. We focus far too much on process and far too little on purpose. Yet, if we know our purpose, then the process becomes much more clear. It is always vision before action and dream before the scheme. You, personally, have to see it to believe it so that you can then work to achieve it. Here are 2 questions to help narrow your purpose:
Why are you here on this planet?
How can you best help others?
Third, we need to consider PROCESS. Now, hold on because a big statement is coming: product and process as the twin psychological principles of performance. What? Can I put that in English? Yes, it is not as deep as it sounds. If you really want to commit to achieving something (that's a performance), then you need to study your mind and behaviors (psychology) to determine the next steps (process) and results (product). If you have defined who you are and why you are here, this becomes easy. Below are some questions to pose and further help with your process decisions:
What are you most comfortable with or adept at doing?
Where do you have gaps that require new learning?
When do you want to get started?
The last "P" for personal branding is PLATFORM. I am not going to spend much time here because you will need to know what you want and then match it with the best platform. If you want a more visual presence with limited and use hashtags, well, Instagram is it. If you are looking for immediacy, engagement, and bite-sized info, well, check out Twitter. If you want everything, then you probably need Facebook. There are so many more platforms that you could use but it all depends on what you want.
In closing, the overwhelming part is finding the place to start. A good friend of mine, Andy Cain, gave me this brilliant process: (1) start small, (2) do something, and (3) build to grow. Remember, you focus your beliefs and behaviors in a manner for the benefit of others.
NOTE: if you want a step-by-step guide to help you think through your personal brand, I highly recommend this workbook put out by PricewaterhouseCoopers. It is 43 pages but forces you to slow down and think.
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