We’ve all heard so much about personal branding. The perceptions of a personal brand are far reaching – from your external image to how often you say please and thank you.
What usually baffles many of my clients is the answer to one simple yet difficult question: what is your personal brand?
I see your personal brand as your trusted reputation. This reputation is built on trust. Overtime, your personal brand signals the substance you can deliver – things such as expertise, advice or even strengths – as well as evidence of the authentic you and the influence you sway while not in the room.
I will share five hacks to uncover your personal brand. Knowing what your personal brand is makes it easier to communicate your value and align day-to-day actions around this value.
Become clear on that undisputed value you offer.
One everyday hack to figure this out is to reflect on the results you consistently helped others accomplished. You could put a timeline of say in 2016, I helped my team developed innovative product pipelines or I worked with HR leaders to develop non-sense people engagement strategies. You might also ask yourself: what expertise did others come to me for in 2016? You could also go through the recommendations you have on LinkedIn or your past performance reviews to see what others say about your value.
Identify common themes among how you are introduced.
It turns out others introduce us by using adjectives that describe the value they see in us. Over the next couple of weeks, start taking note of how your boss, client or some key stakeholders introduce you to others. Jot down the adjectives they use to introduce you -and after a month, go through your list and identify some themes to these adjectives.
Shortlist the strengths that make you a rockstar.
Yes, you read right. Personal branding guru – William Arruda – calls these your super strengths. While very relative – these are things you do better than anyone else on your team, in your industry or even in network. Most likely, these strengths come easily to you. There are three questions you could ask yourself to arrive at these strengths:
1. What was the most difficult challenge you had to overcome? What tools did you use to get through this challenge?
2. What are the biggest hits of your career? – What behaviors, habits or skills made these hits possible? What did you do that others weren’t doing?
3. What makes you feel at your best self? It could be something that you do that makes you lose track of time, feel joy or simply something that you wish you could be doing everyday.
Answer: how do you do things differently?
Differentiation in personal branding usually comes to how you deliver what you do. For example, you could have two engineers who perform the same job, but their approaches to doing the job are completely different. One might have a penchant for asking very analytical and detailed questions while the other tends to be witty and collaborative in his approach. It’s also worth becoming clear on your beliefs – your vision, purpose and values – as they help shape how you operate. Start evaluating how you approach your job compared to your colleagues. Look for similarities and differences. Once you identify these differences, ask yourself is this approach relevant to who I am trying to target?
Knowing and owning your personal brand will give you so much more confidence. Spend some time doing a bit of reflection and gathering feedback to become clear on what is your personal brand. You won’t regret it. It could mean the difference between staying behind and getting ahead in 2017.