Your personal brand is your reputation: the impression you leave with the people with whom you interact, their perception of you. Your personal brand reflects the aura and impact of the choices you’ve made in life and how you present yourself to the world: mode of dress, communication style, profession, educational level, values and priorities, how and with whom you socialize.
Primarily for professional reasons, it is a smart idea to connect selected dots that you wish to emphasize and create a narrative that will communicate to prospective clients or employers, VIPs and colleagues that you bring value and relevance and that professional or social affiliations with you are worthwhile.
Fail to proactively build and advance a personal brand that conveys integrity and competence and you risk being denied numerous opportunities in life. Take control of the professional and social aspects of your personal brand and do whatever possible to create a destiny and legacy that have a positive impact. Create a story that succinctly communicates your story, or brand narrative, to the world. Portions of your brand narrative will be included in your curriculum vitae, bio, website, press kit, LinkedIn and Facebook pages. As you write your brand narrative, keep in mind three attributes that form the pillars of an excellent personal brand:
The self you present to the world must reflect your expertise and experience, core values and beliefs. Have the courage to be your best self. Emphasize the relevant. Acknowledge your expertise and what you enjoy doing. Be compassionate. Pay it forward. Keep it real.
People want to know what to expect when they plan to interact with someone. We trust that which is dependable and reliable. Meet or exceed client expectations. Keep your promises. Monitor your choices, for at some point you’ll need to respectfully decline certain offers because they do not appropriately reflect your brand. As the late, great Diana Vreeland, former editor-in-chief at both Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue Magazines once said, “Elegance is refusal.”
In line with Ms. Vreeland’s famous quote, choose to live your brand and that means you must learn to say no. Your lifestyle: the associations that you join, social comrades, causes with which you align and skill sets that you promote must all reflect your brand and fit within the narrative. Surround yourself with people who respect and support your life choices and who do not undermine your goals and values. Carefully manage your time and resources in ways that will open the door and welcome your preferred future.
Thanks for reading,
Kim L. Clark is a strategy and marketing consultant who works with for-profit and not-for-profit organization leaders who must achieve business goals. Kim is the founder and principal of the consulting firm Polished Professionals Boston and she teaches business plan writing to aspiring entrepreneurs. Learn how Kim’s expertise can benefit your organization when you visit polishedprofessionalsboston.com.