Personal branding has been relevant since 1997 when Tom Peters mentioned it in an article, but the first references of personal branding as a concept should actually be credited to Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. And of course, there’s the 1981 book, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind that delves on the concept as it relates to one’s positioning strategy for career advancement purposes.
Personal branding is the process by which one packages and positions themselves and their career as a brand. Basically, it gives credence to the understanding that each person is valuable and when one learns how to package and position their value, they can experience exponential growth personally and professionally. And, more importantly, others can experience value from their brand as well. I have been in love with the concept of personal branding for as long as I can remember and am actually elated that the rest of the world is catching up to the understanding that each person’s significance determines the viability of any company. Period.
As of late, entrepreneurs and employees alike are turning to personal branding strategists such as myself to understand how to package and position their gifts, talents and abilities which I like to call the Incredible Factor (HUG – Hot Undeniable Gifts + SBM – Signature Business Move + USP/V – Unique Selling Proposition/Value in a brand magnetic package.) Understanding how to put your best foot forward is the clear difference between being a thought leader and go-to expert in your organization or watching from the sidelines. (Yes, it is THAT important!)
Now, if you think that defining a personal brand is something, wait until you hear Fern’s question, which I am answering in this week’s episode of Incredible Factor TV. And Fern asks:
“Hi Darnyelle, Thank you so much for Incredible Factor TV. Your videos are fun, educational and inspirational – you’re my shero! My question is this – So when it comes to your personal brand, how often should you reinvent it?”
As you’ll hear when you watch the episode, I first wanted to make sure that Fern had effectively defined her brand. After all, there’s nothing to reinvent if a firm definition has not been established.
In the development phase of a brand, there are a few elements that you want to get crystal clear about:
Brand message – what is the defining message of your brand and how will you position it so that it is relevant to those who matter?
Brand value proposition – what makes your brand compelling?
Brand promise – what is the experience that your brand promises to the end user?
Brand power statement – what is the one sentence that truly encapsulates your brand. In other words, if you only had 4.9 seconds to make an impression, what would you say?
You should also keep in mind that there are four pillars of personal branding: perception, marketability, differentiation and value proposition and the components above should cover the four pillars in their entirety. And, please don’t get me started on your brand visuals like personal image, professional image and logo, etc. So regardless of if you’re an employee or entrepreneur, you need to have these core elements in place and secure.
I highly recommend that you take the time to get crystal clear on how you want to be seen in the marketplace. After all, a brand is best defined as how others see you. Now, assuming you’ve done that and you’re clear about your core brand elements and feel good about your brand, tweaks will occur every few years as long as your core messaging doesn’t change. When I say tweaks, I mean refreshing to keep yourself relevant and top of mind. But let me also say that you need to evaluate your brand’s effectiveness at least twice each year. Be sure to develop your benchmarks as soon as possible.
During said brand evaluations, here are some of the questions I recommend you ask yourself and others who experience your brand:
- What does my brand stand for?
- What is the effectiveness of my brand?
- How can I determine my brand’s relevance?
- Do I have any proof that my brand is doing what I said it should?
- What, if anything, needs to be modified in my brand to ensure effectiveness?
- What are others saying about my brand?
I also recommend having a 360 done on your brand at least once each year. A 360 is an assessment taken by others on the effectiveness and overall perception of your brand. 360’s can be very eye opening.
Undergoing this process twice a year will keep you in tune with your brand and its core elements. If you’re in tune, you’ll know it’s time for a brand refresh when your traction is waning or opportunities are less prevalent. You could also feel like the current visuals for your brand aren’t telling your story anymore like I was just before I got a new website. Trust me, this process helps all the way around. 🙂
It’s also possible that you may need to ensure that you have a consistent presence in the area where you want to be seen. This, Fern, is why marketing and branding go hand in hand. Branding is how you get known, marketing is how you get seen and found and then of course sales is how you get paid – and yes, you can tweet that!
Now I want to hear from you, what’s your two cents? Are you clear on your brand? How will you know when your brand requires an update? Please do us a favor and share your two cents by leaving a comment below.
And, if you need help inventing or reinventing your brand, consider our consulting options, we’d be happy to make your brand an Incredible One®.
©2013 by Darnyelle A. Jervey. All Rights Reserved. Darnyelle A. Jervey, MBA, The Incredible Factor Speaker, Business Coach and Marketing Mentor, is the founder of Incredible One Enterprises.com, Incredible Factor University® and the Leverage Your Incredible Factor System®, a proven step-by-step program for more clients, more income and more leverage in your business. For more information and a FREE audio CD “7 Critical Mistakes Entrepreneurs Must Avoid When Unleashing Your Incredible Factor So You Attract More Clients, Make More Money and Gain More Leverage” just fill out the form below.