Use It or Lose It!
5 Steps to choosing your most powerful and effective personal brand attributes.
When it comes to refining your personal brand, less is more. We are all complex and wonderfully multi-faceted individuals. Each of us has a multitude of adjectives that could describe us at any given time. As we craft our personal brand, however, our challenge is not to describe ourselves with the most detail, but rather to distill these descriptors down to the most memorable, relevant and unique traits.
The ultimate goal of your personal brand is to create positive name recognition for the clients, positions, or opportunities you seek. You do this by taking control of the way others perceive you. Being one step ahead of their perceptions, so to speak, so that you create the impression you desire. That is not to say you pretend to be something you are not. It is about awareness of the impression you leave on others, and consciously maximizing your skills, traits, and personal attributes to be in alignment with the needs of your target audience and your personal and professional goals.
Ultimately, your brand should be memorable, relevant to your audience and very consistent. Based on these objectives, the following 5 steps will help you to choose the brand attributes with the greatest impact for success. On average, people will seldom remember more than 3 key adjectives to describe you, but different people will remember different traits depending upon the relevance to their lives, so settling on your top 5 is a good standard. Using your master list of personal attributes that you have collected from objective survey:
1. Check their relevance to your overall goals.
Based on what you wish to achieve in your career, and in your life as a whole, review which attributes serve your goals. Give each attribute on your master list a score between 1 and 5 (5 being most relevant).
2. Check their relevance to your target audience.
In step 1 you thought about how your attributes affect YOUR goals. In this step you need to thing about the goals of YOUR AUDIENCE. Your audience could be your boss, your clients, and your key networking allies. What attributes in your master list most benefit them? Give each attribute on your master list a score between 1 and 5 (5 being most relevant).
3. Which traits are most memorable?
This is a tricky one. Often these are the traits that we shy away from, so consider your evaluation carefully. You have to be willing to put yourself “out there” for a successful brand. What characteristics about you are the most shocking, outrageous, strange, unexpected, flamboyant, or unusual? These traits will probably be the most memorable. Typically these attributes are “double-edged swords” with potential negative sides, but under careful management can be true brand differentiators. An example might be Madonna’s trademark overt sexuality. Give each attribute on your master list a score between 1 and 5 (5 being most memorable).
4. Which attributes are the closest to your heart?
The things that you are most passionate about will be the easiest for you to maximize in your brand. Give each attribute on your master list a score between 1 and 5 (5 being most passionate about).
5. Add it all up.
Calculate your totals. Write down the 5 attributes with the top scores. How do they fit together? If you find some interesting contrasts do not be alarmed. Contrasting attributes in your brand add memorability, Going back to the example of Madonna’s personal brand. Her overt sexuality would have had far less impact on her career were it not partnered with her brilliant acumen as a business woman.
Once you have your top 5 attributes:
- Commit them to memory
- Use them to describe yourself consistently in every opportunity you get
Using your brand attributes clearly, constantly and consistently is imperative to the success of your brand and at the heart of any branding campaign, personal or corporate. You must feel comfortable and confident in embracing these attributes and using them in what you say, what you do, and what you write. If you do not feel fluid in this, re-evaluate the list and settle on attributes that feel more natural. Use it or lose it, baby.
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