Ep. 133 Essential elements of a personal brand

essential elements personal brand

In today’s episode, Anna looks at the essential elements of a personal brand, from your big ‘why’ right down to the tangible aspects that people actually see.

Just like a business brand is not only its logo and tagline, your personal brand is not only your image and appearance – it goes much deeper, to reflect your bigger ‘why’, your values and what makes you credible in what you do.

If you’d like help with getting clarity on the key ingredients of your personal brand, book a call at onestepoutside.com/call to see how I can help.

*Resources mentioned during the episode*

The One Step Outside Facebook group – Join us over in the Facebook group to meet like-minded people who are working on reimagining success in their life and business and to get access to direct support and free training sessions from Anna. www.facebook.com/groups/onestepoutside

Join the One Step Outside the 9 to 5 Business Incubator – This is your roadmap to transitioning from a corporate job into setting up a meaningful business that will bring you more freedom, flexibility and fulfilment outside of the corporate 9 to 5. www.onestepoutside.com/9to5

Book a call – If you’re interested in crafting your own personal brand and creating new opportunities, then book a call to see how I can help. www.onestepoutside.com/call

Join the Business Accelerator – Ready to build and scale your business to achieve everything you dreamed of when you started – without sacrificing your personal life (and your sanity!) to do so? www.onestepoutside.com/work-with-anna/outsiders-business-accelerator/

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Essential elements of a personal brand

Transcript:

Hello there, and welcome back to the Reimagining Success podcast. I’m your host Anna Lundberg. And we’re looking at personal branding.

Personal branding. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, you’re just starting out, you’re many years in business or you’re still teetering on the edge perhaps of wanting to leave your job but you’re not quite sure, for now you’re going to be staying the next few years, my belief, my strong belief, is that a personal brand, first of all, is something that exists, whether you do anything about it or not, but second of all is incredibly important for you to manage actively if you want to influence your professional narrative, if you want to open up career opportunities for yourself in the future. And if you want to really safeguard and future-proof yourself against perhaps changes in your organisation, of course, redundancies, but even internal changes, shifts, your manager who loves you might leave, so you need to make sure you have exposure to other departments. You might think that you want to stay in this career and organisation forever, but that probably won’t be the case whether you want to or not. And also most likely you might change your mind in the future and so on.

So all this to say, really powerful to manage this. And in fact, to impact positively your own company. And that’s something that’s really important to recognise too. One of the sensitivities that we navigate as I help clients leave their corporate jobs is, “Okay, while I’m still in my corporate job, how can I have a public presence online on LinkedIn and so on without there being a conflict of interest? How do I handle that?” And of course it depends on where you are in terms of your contract, in terms of are you even allowed. There might be a clause of saying that you can’t be doing other activities, let’s say. You certainly can’t be doing something that conflicts, working with the same types of clients and so on.

And yet, even if you have no thought of leaving your job and you certainly don’t need to tell your boss that you’re thinking of leaving your job, the more forward-thinking employers, and I’d encourage you to talk to your manager about this, do recognise and understand the power of actually having their employees, and certainly their senior employees, being active out there as individuals, as experts, but also as representatives of the company of the brand. And I remember a story a client told me last year actually of a colleague, a new starter in his company who he discovered, my client discovered, had been incredibly active on LinkedIn. And this was a junior manager who’d come in, not a lot of experience, but was writing really incredibly smart things, sharing articles, writing, commenting, engaging. And so his personal brand externally, but also now internally was immediately raised.

We have this incredible opportunity to manage this, to cultivate a personal brand without necessarily being limited by the old school, you have to have X number of years of experience and you have to have this formal qualification and so on. So again, wherever you are in your career, if you’re just starting out and cultivating career capital, this is a great way for you to start building this. And I’m not saying, and I never say, that personal brand should be about putting on a fake persona and pretending to be more experienced. You’re not, no, no, no. But if you are passionate about a topic, if you know a lot about it, then by all means voice that expertise share what you know, engage in conversations, contribute to that discussion.

But today’s episode is specifically about what is inside a personal brand. So what are the ingredients?

Because I think when we think of company brands, business brands, we think, if we don’t come from a branding marketing background at least, I think most people would think of logos. And I see coaches and designers saying, “Hey, I’m going to help you work on your brand.” And what they mean is the tangible elements that you see. So logo, tagline, font type, colours, design elements, graphics, and so on. And that’s really important. But from my experience at Procter & Gamble, which was really a leading marketing… Sorry, a bird just almost attacked me through the window, came flying at me while I was looking up at the sky as I was talking to you.

At P&G, we really used a fantastic framework to build brands. And I think that’s why they were so leading and also leading and in developing some of the most well-known brands over the decades, over the century in fact. And we had this brand pyramid, which I’ve then adapted in fact to use for personal branding. But this brand pyramid had of course the logos and the tangible equities and so on, which is what people would see, the colours, the jingle, whatever it was, packaging design, of course, the colours, everything that people would recognise, the font type, a particular character in the advertising you’d use and so on. But that was only the very final step in fact. And in order to get there, any good designer will tell you…

In fact, I’m working with a designer at the moment to tweak my branding a little bit as I work on the new website. And she got me to fill in a very detailed questionnaire about who my audience is, my targets, what are my values, what are the adjectives that describe my brand, what’s my mission and so on. And so even from a company business, brand perspective, we think of the logo and the colours and so on, but the brand really is so much more than that. It’s the mission, it’s the values, it’s the benefits and results that that company, that business, that product can bring that service and so on. And the same goes for personal branding. So I’ve already said that I’ve adapted, I’ve shamelessly taken this internal brand framework to modify and adapt to make it relevant for personal branding. And again, for personal branding, your image, your personal brand is not just the clothes you wear, the nails you have had done, again, the logo, the job title you’ve put on your business cards and website design and so on, it does again, go back to your why, your mission, your values and so on.

So that’s what I wanted to talk about today. And concretely so what are those elements? And it’s something I’ve shared, and I know is now being shared in a number of external trainings, because I’ve seen them. I’ve had lots of lovely people come to me and say that they’d seen this framework in some other courses and training programmes. So I’m really glad it’s being shared. But the first part I suppose, is as Simon Sinek always says, and as I like to say too, to start with your why start with, in my case, your definition of success; why are you getting up in the morning to do this work? And again, this goes for internally in your company that you’re working as an employee in, and also overall big picture perspective for you in your career. What is it that you’re ultimately trying to achieve? And it could be professional success, and that should be very important. It could be there’s something really that you believe in.

At P&G, we talked about touching lives, improving life, touching the hearts and minds of our consumers. And there was a lot of focus on consumer being boss back in my days. That was our GM’s perspective, our CEO’s perspective, I guess I should say. And so what is your purpose, your personal brand purpose, your why? And I know this is such a big question. And I have to reassure you by saying, look, I don’t even have that one pithy succinct sentence that explains exactly what my mission is. And I certainly didn’t when I was just starting out. But I just think it’s important to come back to, “Why have I started this business?” If you’re just starting out now, “Why do I want to do this? What is it I care about?” And in particular thinking about, “Why this business?” There’s the aspect of the why, which is, “Hey, I want freedom, flexibility, and fulfilment.” Fine, but why then am I doing this particular business? And there might be a very direct link.

In my case, there is because I want freedom, flexibility, fulfilment, but I also believe that you all should have that too. So my purpose is very much linked to helping you redefine success, helping you build that business, that life outside of the nine to five. For you, it might be a little bit more disconnected, your personal sense of freedom, and then the particular benefit that you’re bringing to your audience. But if you’re lucky, I think, and I think the really powerful missions are when those really overlap. So what’s your bigger purpose? And again, don’t worry if it’s not this catchy thing that can be printed on a t-shirt, it’s having a clear idea of why you’re doing this, why do you care?

As Simon Sinek says, it’s not just, “Hey, I’m selling computers.” It’s, “I’m designing this incredibly beautiful thing.” Let’s take a VA, for example. I love the example of you’re not just, “Oh, do admin.” No, you’re not just doing admin. And you’re saving time for these really busy entrepreneurs so that they can focus on the things that are most important in their business, but also free up more time than to spend time with their families and so on, right? So that’s just a very simple example. But being super clear on your purpose, your personal brand purpose and mission to start off with, that’s going to then cascade down into everything else.

 The second key ingredient are your values. And business brands are certainly more and more value-driven today, but your personal brand should be even more so.

So what do you want to stand for? What do you value most of all? And it’s something that I think a lot of us don’t ask ourselves. And if you have done then, then great for you, because I certainly hadn’t, it’s something that was quite new to me when I entered the coaching world. But really understanding, “What is it that I really believe in that perhaps some of my colleagues and friends don’t have quite the same strong views on, something that really annoys me when I notice that other people don’t live up to something?” Maybe honesty and integrity is really critical for you or creativity and innovation is something you’re super passionate about. Or on the other hand, something more like disciplined dependability.

I tend to say five core values is enough, it’s specific enough to be unique to you, but also broad enough to guide you and to capture the different aspects of what’s important to you. So your core values in your personal and professional life. Again, there might be a massive overlap in terms of your personal values and your business values. My case, it pretty much is the same. But of course, if you have a company, if you’re building an organisation, your particular company values might be slightly different, might be elevated or more specific, in fact, compared to your personal brand values. Then this is where we really take this from my brand days is thinking about really the benefits you provide and, as we call them, the reasons to believe. So I now call this more looking at your skills and strengths, your hard skills, your soft skills, your personality strengths, and the credibility, the evidence, the supporting evidence to support that essentially.

So again, it’s not just about… It’s not about at all faking or creating some sort of incredibly impressive persona that isn’t what’s true to you. It’s actually about digging into your past to understand all your experience, the sum total of your personal and professional life, all the different roles you’ve had and things that are, for example in my case, I might have had that corporate experience. Yes, I had the marketing, I had the social media and digital and blah, blah, blah, but there was also writing, coaching, mentoring, public speaking, workshop facilitation, business strategy, and then softer skills, attributes like being incredibly self-motivated, strong, independent, quick thinking, open-minded whatever those attributes are for you. But thinking of what is it that people come to you for help with. Yes, things where you have formal qualifications and so on, but also the broader, softer things that aren’t necessarily listed on your CV, your resume.

And then as I said, what’s the evidence to support these claims? Because I could just go out and say, “Hey, I’m an incredible coach.” And that’s probably what I tried to do when I first started the coaching business. But of course I have no leg to stand on. Yes, I just done this two year training, but what did I actually have to show for it? And of course the important thing is when we change career or change into working for ourselves to not disregard those decades, the years of experience that we do have, because even if you are shifting to a new area, actually there are a lot of transferable skills and experience you can use. So being able to still use, still leverage, still build on your past experience as you add this new skill and direction to into the mix is the really powerful way of developing a really unique narrative as well, that you’re uniquely taking your professional background with your hobby and passion and adding that into some really creative portfolio career or business ideas. So that’s where it gets super interesting.

But again, whatever evidence you have. So awards and accolades, qualifications, not just the concrete things, tangible things like formal qualifications, also testimonials from people, reviews, recommendations, maybe media appearances. Of course, this is more once you become a business owner and hopefully are building your audience. But again, as an employee, I encourage you too, with the support of your manager and your team, to go out and to speak and to be prominent and step into that role as an expert in your industry. So you might have a YouTube channel with your speaking, it could be virtual speaking. You might have a professional blog, you might have a podcast. But even before that, just the expertise that you have, the experience, the media publications perhaps you’ve been featured in. Anything that you believe really demonstrates how good you are and how you can actually deliver the results that you say you do or can.

And then finally, yes, we do come to those tangible elements, right?

So really thinking of, yes, it is a bit of an image piece. It is how you show up. It’s the photo you have on LinkedIn. It’s the typos that you hopefully don’t have in your posts. It’s your emails. It is a logo, if you have a logo. And it’s the business card, your personal grooming, clothes you wear and so on. And of course, any personality quirks you have and things you say on your podcast or whatever. So things that really are visible, yes, they are important. Hopefully they then represent all these deeper things like your values and your mission and so on, your why, but they are, when it comes down to it, the first thing that people will see. So it is important that those tangible elements tell the story you want to tell.

So those are the key ingredients from the big why, the purpose, the mission, through to your core values, the strengths skills that you have, the credibility, the supporting evidence, right through to the tangible brand elements of things that people see and the way you behave and act and put yourself across. And of course, yes, photos and logos and all that jazz. So it can be really difficult to come up with this list ourselves, right? It’s very easy for me to help you, and that’s why I do what I do. Much harder to have the self-awareness to sit down. And I used to hate that back in the corporate days as well, of having to sit down for my annual and quarterly reviews and say, “This is what I’m good at. And this is my opportunity area where I need to get better.”

So if you’d like my help, then please do get in touch. You can get me on any social media, of course, and also email me at podcast@onestepoutside.com to talk about how I can support you, how I can be that sounding board for you, the mirror, hold up a mirror to you to help you get clear on these different elements. And so that will then be a really clear guiding light for you in terms of the kind of content you want to put out there, in terms of how you put yourself across, the opportunities that you’re trying to create. And of course, it’s important for you to know what those opportunities are. What is your bigger why? What are you trying to achieve so that we can help you craft the story and take your personal brand in the direction that is going to open up those opportunities that you’re after.

So again, get in touch and I’d love to hear from you to work with you and support you in developing your personal brand. And again, we’ll be talking much more about this in the coming weeks as well. So I’ll see you very soon. Thanks so much for listening. Bye for now.

If you’re ready to start to reimagine what success could look like for you, here are some of the ways in which Anna can support you:

Get private mentoring for your business – Partnering with a business coach can help you see those blind spots and get both external accountability and expert guidance to take your business to where you want it to be. www.onestepoutside.com/freeconsultation

Get private career coaching – Individual coaching is fully tailored to your specific goals and desires so we can create the programme that works best for you, with the support that you need to move forwards. www.onestepoutside.com/claritycall

Grab a copy of Leaving the Corporate 9 to 5 – After interviewing 50 people who have left the corporate 9 to 5 to forge their own path, Anna has collected their stories in a book that will inspire you with the possibilities that are out there and reassure you that you’re not alone in looking for an alternative. www.leavingthecorporate9to5.com

Join the One Step Outside the 9 to 5 Business Incubator – This is your roadmap to transitioning from a corporate job into setting up a meaningful business that will bring you more freedom, flexibility and fulfilment outside of the corporate 9 to 5. www.onestepoutside.com/9to5

Level up with The Outsiders Business Accelerator – This is a mastermind for entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners who want to create a long-term sustainable brand and business. www.onestepoutside.com/accelerate

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