Brands surround us. Our world is filled with products and services created by millions of brands from Nike to Target to our neighborhood Hardware Hank. Athletes carry a brand. Companies create brands. It’s an identity. Brands project an image, create a presence, demonstrate confidence. They invite members, clients, businesses, and consumers to engage. Good brands foster relationships. Great brands are remembered.
So, when I was given the task of creating my personal brand, I was a bit stumped. Why do I need a personal brand statement? I wasn’t selling anything – or so I thought. I have always put emphasis on individual development and growth. My purpose was simple: make another person’s day easier and happier. Do your job well. I was missing one specific, and obvious, piece: direction. Like all company or organization brands, I too needed a plan to network, to be visible, and to grow. I needed to define who I was and most importantly, how I wanted to be known.
Define: who am I and what do I do?
The idea of creating a personal brand statement did not develop overnight. It took a lot of thought…and about three months. I needed to ask myself:
- What do I want to be known for?
- What makes me distinct and memorable to others?
- How would my friends, family, colleagues describe me? (And, was that what I wanted to hear??)
- What words, phrases, ideas stand out to me? Can those words be used to identify me?
I jotted down words and actions that I felt described me. I noted characteristics that I hoped others would say about me. Finally, I set out for answers from those who knew me best – and those that didn’t. I questioned friends, family, coworkers, my boss, my team, my husband, my kids. I even asked my doctor (he’s accustomed to giving me the feedback without the fluff).
Create: a brand is born
A strong brand must be unique, meaningful, and clear. It needs to be memorable. Above all else, brands must be honest and consistent. A lot to consider for one brief statement.
So, with my list of virtues in hand, I went to work. Many opinions were shared. Certain ones really stuck out. I am viewed as reflective (yes, almost to a fault – in many cases, some referred to it as indecisive), engaging, interested, concerned for others, inspiring (really? that’s relative, in my opinion), dedicated to doing my best. I also expect the same in return.
I then considerd all the roles of my life: wife, mother, friend, peer, employee, manager. I needed a statement that was suitable for every role. A brand must bring consistency. It should be lived every day.
The final copy: put it to actionI reflect my best self to engage others.
Does it say enough? I think so. Can it improve? Absolutely. Does it drive my behavior? Every day.
It keeps me present and my work meaningful. It pushes me through challenges. And, hopefully for a short moment in someone’s day, it brings me to mind.
Live your brand. Reflect it in all you do.