Cornerstones of the Brand
When you brand yourself properly, the competition becomes irrelevant.
– Dan Schwabel
In order to define yourself, you need to know yourself. Identifying your core values, passions, and strengths will help you realize what you need to communicate in your brand. Once you understand what you have to offer, it will be possible to create a brand image that is both honest and positive. Defining yourself will allow others to see you clearly.
Identify Your Values
In branding, your pillars are your main values. They are the attributes that help define your identity. In order to identify your pillars, you must ask yourself what you stand for and what your core values are. Your pillars are not what you have to offer; they explain how you offer what you have. For example, you may offer years of sales experience, but your pillar could be offering an honest and authentic sales experience. Remember that there are no correct or incorrect pillars; they simply need to reflect your core values.
Ask yourself what you stand for and make a list of ideas. Then, choose the main values and link them to what your brand has to offer. It is best to begin branding with one or two pillars. You can always expand in the future.
Identify Your Passions
Your brand should reflect your passions. Ask yourself the following questions to identify your passions:
- What do you care about?
- What drives you?
- What do you consider your passions?
Remember to list all of your passions, not just the ones that are obviously related to work. If the only passion you communicate is the desire to increase sales, you appear boring and work obsessed. People know that there is more to you than your work. Your brand needs to personalize you to other people, so a passion for art, family, or the environment could only contribute to your brand. You are bound to attract people with similar passions. You can also find ways to incorporate your passions into your work.
Identify Your Strengths
Branding requires you to identify your strengths, which you already visited in your SWOT analysis. Your strengths, however, are essential in your branding, so it is important that you do not overlook any of them. It is easy to overlook personal strengths by focusing on desired attributes. Making this mistake can be disastrous and keep you from realizing your potential.
Remember to consider your natural talent when finding your personal strengths. What comes easily to you? What do you do better than other people? Also, consider aspects of your character that are natural strengths. For example, self-control, trustworthiness, and intelligence are all strengths that define you and your brand.
The Magical Cs
When establishing your brand, you must remember the three Cs: Clarity, Consistency, and Constancy. Whether you are creating a personal or business brand, you will find the three Cs extremely useful.
Clarity: Your brand needs to be clear about what you do and do not represent. Are you a risk-taker or do you represent stability? Are you creative or analytical? If there is any ambiguity in your branding, you will confuse people and cause disappointment.
Consistency: Once you have clearly established your brand identity, it is important that you remain consistent. Consistency requires that you present yourself in the same light each time you communicate your brand. This consistency needs to be in your stated values and made visible in your actions.
Constancy: Your brand requires constancy, meaning that it is visibly dependable. Once you define your brand, commit to it.
Ashley was given an exercise at work to help her define her strengths. Every time that she thought of strength, she thought again and decided that it really wasn’t. Nothing that she considered strength was related to her job description. Additionally, she thought about all of the traits that successful people at work had that she lacked. The end of the exercise convinced Ashley convinced that she had no strengths. She lied on the answers by choosing strengths that she would like to have rather than the ones that she actually possessed.
1) What is useful for establishing pillars?
2) What do pillars reflect?
3) What should your brand reflect?
4) What is true of passions in your brand?
You should not express them
They should be professional
They should include all passions
5) What should you consider when identifying strengths?
All of the above
6) Focusing on which of the following will distract from your strengths.
7) What needs to be clear in your brand?
What you represent
What you do not represent
8) What makes the brand visibly dependable?
9) Why was Ashley evaluating her strengths?
10) How did Ashley answer the questions on her exercise?
She copied someone else’s answers
She did not
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