What’s authenticity got to do with onions?

We’re a lot more like onions than you think. Yes. Really.

If you’ve recently started working for yourself, one of the challenges you’re likely to come across is finding your true voice, your authentic self. Connecting to who you really are and what you really want is not always a straightforward process. One thing I have realised working with my clients is that the people that find it the hardest are those that were working in corporate environments that didn’t encourage them to be themselves. They’d spent so long trying to change who they were to fit in that they lost site of who they really are. This might have been because the organisational values and theirs were not aligned, or maybe they were doing a job that didn’t fulfil them or make use of their talents and strengths. Whatever the reason, once you’re free of the corporate machine you’re next biggest task is to do decide what to do next. And in doing so you’ll need to define yourself. In other words; develop your personal brand.

In making your next move, the chances are that you’ll use the online space to do so. Whether it’s on LinkedIn, ecademy or if you end up with your own site or blog. If you’re going to present yourself online, you’re going to need to make a call as to how you want to appear and what you want to say about yourself. That’s in addition to being clear about what you’re trying to achieve so that you know who you’re trying to talk to.

So, back to onions… like onions, when we’re an employee in a hostile environment we develop a thick skin to protect ourselves. It protects us nicely from the dirt that surrounds us; you know the politics, the falsities and all the other corporate BS. Then, when we get plucked free, the bit that people really want is the juicy fleshy bit. But to get to that, we need to shed a few layers first. How many layers will depend on how hostile corporate life was. Over to you Shrek…

Shedding these layers can take quite some time. I know personally, it took me well over a year to find my true voice. And believe me, the journey isn’t over!

The thing is, once you’re well on the way to finding your story you are blessed with the ability to really carve out a niche for yourself. Because in discovering your authentic self comes with it a renewed sense of confidence. This confidence enables you to inject your personality into what you do in a way that you’ve not done before. And once you get to do that, you’re on the road to uniqueness. The one thing that you can be sure of is that no-one else has got your personality. So, no matter what you end up doing for a living, if you do it YOUR way, then you will be unique and stand out from others. One of my favourite examples of this is Danielle LaPorte of White Hot Truth

Once you do this you will naturally attract others with similar values to you, which means you’ll probably enjoy working and being with them. And when you get to that, work doesn’t feel like work. And that my friend is success!

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How social media can help your personal brand

Here is an article I wrote as guest blogger for Smarta.com that you can find here.

Let me ask you this: when people ask you what you do, do you have a response that is clear, compelling and engaging? How you answer this question is a key part of your personal brand. It’s your story and should help you to be memorable and stand out, so that people know who you are and what you stand for. After all, we all know that the best form of marketing is word-of-mouth, and what better way than to inspire others to share your story. When you do this right, it won’t be too long before you hear the words “Oh yes! I’ve heard of you”.

Your personal brand is a combination of many things: how you present yourself and engage with others, your past results and achievements, your values and strengths, your goals and ambitions and what you’re known for. Developing and refining your brand takes time and effort, as it is crucial for your brand to be authentic and YOU. Anything else will be sniffed out. But overarching all this is the need for consistency. All strong brands can be relied to deliver upon their promises, consistently. And this is something that you need to think about.

Having a clear personal brand will not only improve your confidence in yourself. You will be able to attract investment more easily. As your profile improves, potential investors will hear about you and know whether or not you’re the sort of person they want to invest in. You are also more likely to attract the right staff for your business. Your personal brand and your business brand will be very closely linked, and your actions should be driven by your core values. As such, when you communicate your values through what you do, those people with similar values will be attracted to you. Of course, the same goes for attracting customers!

Social media is a great way of enhancing your personal brand. In this digital age, it is most likely that people will first come across you online. If not, they will certainly Google you after meeting you. So how your present yourself in the digital space needs to be consistent with your brand. Personal websites, blogging and active social network participation can all contribute to a strong online presence. But, don’t forget to show people the real you. After all, people do business with people. Twitter is a great way for showing your human side as well as engaging and forming new connections. It can be too easy to be “professional” and this can sometimes come across as cold and distant, not to mention boring.

So, what are you going to do today to enhance your personal brand?

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3 reasons why you should NEVER use video on your site

1. Your livelihood does not depend on selling you as an individual.

So you might be an employee with a guaranteed job for life who sits behind a screen all day with no need to interact with anyone, ever.

Or, you’ve made your millions and spend your days either re-arranging your vast collection of fast cars around the estate, deciding where to berth your yacht next or pestering your butler for another Cristal.

If on the other hand, you’re in the business of selling you, (and who isn’t?) then video is an absolute MUST for your site.

There’s an even narrower list of people who ABSOLUTELY DEFINITELY need to have video on their site. And these are those folk that are in the people business where your business is essentially you and your clients or customers interact with you directly. I’m talking to you entrepreneurs, business owners, consultants, coaches, trainers, speakers, mentors, PA/VA’s, therapists, counsellors, actors, porn stars, etc… you see where this is going?

2. You don’t want to progress in your work, earn more money or grow your business.

This is perfectly reasonable. With the planet running out of resources and space, buying & selling more things and using up more stuff is clearly going to end in trouble. So good for you by not wanting to contribute to the inevitable disaster that’s heading our way.

3. You’ve got 2 heads and think that people may be put off working with you.

This is wholly understandable, and to be quite frank, you should probably seek professional help.

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Don’t hire a Personal Branding Pro until you’ve answered these 5 questions

If you’ve considered hiring a professional to help you manage your personal brand, there are some things to bear in mind.

Personal brand management involves considering all aspects of your personal brand: your strengths, your results, your appearance, your knowledge and experience, your objectives and all collateral about you in the media - in the press and online. Large companies hire Brand Managers to manage their brands so why shouldn’t you?

Here are 5 questions you should ask yourself before you decide whether you need the help of a Personal Brand Manager, Consultant, Advisor or Coach.

1. Do you have what it takes?

Managing your personal brand requires a strategic approach, a plan and knowledge & experience of the various aspects of brand management. If you happen to be an ex-Brand Manager then you are very well suited to managing your personal brand. But if you’re not then you might find yourself having to learn many new skills and ways of working. These new skills and habits may be in conflict with your natural style.

2. Can you afford to be distracted?

Too much workManaging your personal brand is no small task. Depending on your line of work and your levels of activity, your personal brand management could be quite time consuming. Surely your main focus should be on what you do and doing it well, and not managing your personal brand. It’s all very well coming up with great plans, the real magic is in their timely execution. Your personal brand will suffer if there isn’t a consistent approach.

3. Do you know what you want to achieve and what’s possible?

Clarity around your goals is an important aspect of managing your personal brand. But equally important is knowing what’s possible. You may be familiar with what leaders in your field are doing, but by copying them you are not going to stand out. You need to be aware with what leading people outside your field are doing.

guardian angel4. Who’s keeping an eye on you?

It can be all too easy to come up with big plans for developing your personal brand. And, it can be even easier not to follow through. After all, if you’re doing it yourself, who’s going to find out? Right? Wrong! Who’s there to push you and keep you to task? Having a great team around you is more likely to lead to success.


pot-o-gold5. What are you missing out on?

Have you taken the time to consider how much you personal brand might be worth in the future? Do you know how your brand is worth now? Let’s say that that you’re brand is currently worth £60K (what you are able to earn in a year). Your future brand might be worth £500K. If mismanaged, you may take a lot longer to get there, if at all! Is it really worth not getting outside help to get you there?

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King - A Branding Genius?

shaving bond home pageYou would have been hard pressed to get through the weekend papers without escaping any reference to the King. And, I’m not talking about Michael Jackson. Instead, I’m referring to Will King, founder and CEO of King of Shaves. The reason for this is that last week, he launched the Shaving Bond. This is a corporate bond that aims to attract funds for their marketing war chest in their fight against Gillette.

This brand building idea is ingenious on so many levels. So many levels that I’m not quite sure where to start, so in no real order…

A brand you can trust

In the current climate of dishonest and untrustworthy politicians and banks, choosing where to put your money is tricky business. And yet, here is an opportunity to put your money behind one of the fastest growing brands around. Not only that, but Will King is proven when it comes to building assets. After all, he knows how to manage money as he’s built a hugely successful business over the last 16 years. Politicians and banks can’t claim that one very easily. So, in terms of trust, he’s got that one nailed. That’s no mean feat; give the guy some credit.

It’s a win-win!

Will King is predicting that his business will double in the next year. For those of you that struggle with percentages, that’s +100%. So, to offer a +6% return on an investment means that he is going to be quids in. But so are the investors. The majority of investors out there would be hard pressed to find a better return than 6%. Especially one that comes with free King of Shaves products. The free product bit is so neat. For KoS, giving away free product is nothing, but the perceived value to the consumer is massive. Consumers love a bit of FREE.

willI saw King speak recently at the British Library and he was asked how he measured his marketing spend on advertising. The response quite simply was “Sales! We sell loads of product”. King knows that lack of awareness is their biggest barrier. He calls it their “biggest competitor”. So, King knows that if he could just spend more on advertising, then sales will follow. The problem is, he needs to the cash. So, what are his options?

Get your customers to pay for it!

Well why not? Most brands pay for their marketing through their premium prices. Taking this route allows King of Shaves to keep their prices competitive during these “tough times” while offering consumers a return in more ways than one. I also think that the transparency is going to be respected. They’re quite blatant in telling us that they’ll spend the money on marketing and advertising. And so, consumers get to choose as to whether they take part in this. You don’t get that choice with many other brands. You pay or go elsewhere.

Now, back to the lack of awareness issue. What better way round this than to get your name out there? Mmmm… now let’s think, how could he do this. Well, you could try and pull a big PR stunt that gets you into all the papers.

A PR stunt?

the-sun-230609The press coverage for the Shaving Bond has been pretty impressive. Oh sure, it helps that they’ve been spending a little cash on advertising, but nonetheless. To secure coverage in wide ranging publications like The Sun, The Times, Brand Republic, Management Today and Marketing Week makes for a great PR stunt. The value of the PR alone will make this exercise worth it, even if no-one signs up. But, the reach achieved with this coverage would probably surpass anything they could hope to pull off with any ad campaign. And that coverage was despite the other “King” that hit the news this week.

Consistency of message

I can’t help admire the PR aspect of this initiative. Having worked on PR stunt campaigns, I know how hard it can be to ensure that when your story gets out there, the journalists are saying the right thing, consistently. After all, you have no editorial control. But, for this campaign, the message that keeps coming through is “It’s not just a better way to shave, it’s a better way to save”. And that comes straight from King himself. Great brands are built on consistency, and these guys clearly know what they’re doing.

And finally…

What a great name!

This name is a marketer’s dream. It’s just so perfect! I won’t go on as Shaving Bond speaks for itself.

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Are brands brave enough to embrace social media?

Social media, while it’s been around for a bit now, is still not being truly embraced by brands. The beauty of social media is the decentralisation of the source of the message. Now we all have a voice, and it’s just as relevant and important as the next person’s. So for brands, who are used to being in control of the messages about their brand, that time is over.

Brand owners know all about brand perception. Brand perception is what consumers think about the brand. When a gap exists between where the brand thinks they are and where they really are, there’s a bit of work to do. But in the old days, this was relatively easy. You took out a few ads, used a great PR agency and before long, shifts occurred in the brand image.

But now, there are a whole heap of conversations going on about brands in places they don’t even know about. Sure, they have their own website that pushes out the brand message, but that’s the last place that consumers come to. Typically, Google is where it all starts and the corporate website is where it ends. What happens in between is what is going to determine whether that final visit leads to a sale.

So, why don’t brands get more involved with all that stuff that happens in between? The forums, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook… Do brands even know where the conversations are happening?

The truth is that brands are scared. Most are still trying to work out whether social media is here to stay, while the rest are still working out what it is and how to use it. How many people have you heard say “I just don’t get Twitter”?

In a recent Brand Republic article the top 100 brands mentioned on Twitter were mentioned alongside whether or not they had a presence on Twitter. Less than half of them have a Twitter account. So brands like Gillette, Audi, L’Oreal, Cadbury’s, Tesco, Coca-Cola and Apple are NOT participating in the conversation about their brands. This is the space where decisions are made about brands and it seems like the big guys are getting a bit complacent.

Last year I spent some time with the CEO of Bazaarvoice. These guys are all about making the most out of UGC (user generated content) and using it to drive sales. So if you sell from your website they help you to incorporate UGC to offer a fuller picture to the consumer helping them to make a balanced decision. They can demonstrate that a selection of balanced reviews will sell you more products, even if that selection includes poor reviews.

It makes sense. Consumers are going to seek out those balanced reviews before purchasing, so you may as well put them on your site. Stops them leaving in the first place and buying elsewhere.

So, if we know there’s a conversation taking place out there somewhere between Google and the corporate site, why not encourage some of that conversation to take place ON the corporate site? There is an article that has a clear view about this and it encourages brands to develop their website with their consumers. Instead of being me-me-me, make the website about them and their experiences with the brand. Invite testimonials, good and bad, and create a community. This may all sound like a step too far for some brands. But what the bigger brands need to realise, is that smaller brands are happy jump in here, as it’s their competitive edge.

And who knows, these little guys could be the big brands of tomorrow.

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The 5 perils of personal branding

We can safely say that when the topic of personal branding comes up that most people would agree that it’s a good thing, and if they had the time or inclination, they would probably get round to sorting out their personal brand.

But, is it? Are there any perils with starting such a journey? There are a lot of things in life that start out as a good idea that turn out to be a monumental disaster. Like putting up your party pics on facebook, only to discover that a director at work has seen them and now you’re not getting that promotion. Doh! Now I’m not saying that developing your personal brand is in that league, far from it. But what I am saying is that there are considerations, and you should be aware of them before you jump in.

High visibility high_vis_jacket

Remember the whole point behind personal branding. It’s to stand out and be noticed. You want work to come to you, and not vice versa. But, raising your visibility stakes means, you guessed it - you’re going to get noticed! So, are you happy with that? You may be some quiet shrew who’s damn good at what you do, but you prefer to hide behind your desk. Imagine spending the day wearing a high-vis jacket, does that sit well with you? And, more importantly, can you keep it up?

Transparency

glass-of-water

Developing your personal brand is a beautiful process of self-discovery. For a truly authentic personal brand, you’ll need to work out who you are and what you stand for. Then, you’ll need to be that and stand for it consistently. If you don’t, you’ll be betraying your brand (otherwise known as brand suicide). Some personal branders talk about persona being a crucial part of the personal branding equation. I think this wrongly creates the impression that you have a “persona” and a “real you”. By the way, if you look up persona you’ll get words like role, character, mask, actor etc. These are not words that talk about transparency and authenticity.

Accountability

Devising and launching your personal brand is a big step. It’s a sign you mean business. As a part of the process you would have identified personal goals and ambitions. After all, your brand will be there to support you in achieving these. So, now you’ve put your stake in the sand, you’ve got to be seen to be delivering. You’re accountable. Are you ready to be accountable?

Keeping it up

man_lift_weightsThe need for consistency cannot be underestimated. As with business brands, a personal brand needs to be reinforced and maintained. Consistently, both in terms of the message that you’re putting out there and the regularity by which you deliver that message. It’s hard work. It’s called brand management not brand laissez faire for a reason.

Conflict with employer

Now, for some this is not relevant. But for bundles of you it is. How does your brand fit your employer’s brand. If you’re all about the outdoors, high energy, risk taking, and you work in an accountant’s firm, there might be a slight mismatch. Some companies will only be interested in you being an employee if you reflect the corporate brand. While other businesses may be up for allowing you to be YOU. So, beware of being authentic too soon as it might put you out of a job!

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Another secret formula to a great brand

In an article today, it was announced that the chairman of Irn Bru, Robin Barr, will be stepping down after 48 years at the helm. And, why should this story be so interesting? Well, 3 things come to mind….

1. Great brand story
First of all is the great brand story that I learnt upon reading the article. Not being a consumer of fizzy drinks, I’m a bit behind on these things. So to keep you updated on what I have learnt:

“Mr Barr is one of only two people in the world who knows the secret recipe for the best-selling Irn Bru drink and the two never travel on the same plane.

Once a month the essences for the drink are personally mixed by Robin Barr in a sealed room at the company’s headquarters in Cumbernauld.

The 32 different ingredients are combined in a huge vat, which mixes 8,000 litres at a time.

The recipe was discovered by Robin Barr’s great grandfather in 1901 and has not changed in 108 years.

Only one other unnamed person shares the secret but the formula has been written down and is stored in a bank vault somewhere in Scotland.”

Wow! What heritage! The idea that someone is preparing the mixture personally for a fizzy drink really sounds quite heart-warming. And not only that, but it’s the grandson of the inventor of the recipe. In my head, these sugary drinks are all prepared in huge vats and mixed by a computer, watched over by a food chemist. But to have the chairman personally stirring up the essences sounds lovely! I’m sure he uses a very large wooden spoon. The drink almost sounds like it’s home made.

You couldn’t buy this sort of branding. It’s priceless. A cynic somewhere might be wondering if it’s all true, but we’ll ignore them for now.

And this sort of takes me onto my next point.

2. Bang on brand message
For branding to succeed, the brand message has to be applied consistently across all touch points. And, this is what these guys have clearly been doing. So, at this juncture I would like to applaud their PR team. The article above mentions all the key points of the brand story as shared on the brand website. There is only one discrepancy. Can you spot it? (answer at the end):

“How would you describe the essence of a flavour that only two people in the world know? One that is such a closely guarded secret that it is held under lock and key in a vault in Switzerland? A taste so precious, so unique that it is our chairman Robin Barr, and he alone, who blends the unique combination of 32 flavours that can be savoured in every sip? There is only one word to describe it.

Phenomenal

And if you didn’t get that right you’ve clearly been drinking something else. So go and de-tox your mouth with a can of IRN-BRU immediately.”

When using PR as part of your brand building strategy, the trick is to ensure that the brand message is understood clearly by the media and repeated word for word. Of course, in the real world, this can be tricky. Journalists and editors like to trim down press releases, or they may pick a more newsworthy angle that in not entirely appropriate for the brand. And, as a brand, you only find out once you get to read the finished piece.

But here, the PR team have clearly done a good job. They probably have great relationships with the media they’re dealing with and have no doubt furnished them with incredulous amounts of Irn Bru.

My final point doesn’t quite link on so smoothly I’m afraid. But it is an important one.

3.  The secret recipe
How many brands have secret recipes? I bet if you talked to any big food brand, they would tell you that their recipe is secret. And yet, what steps are being taken to protect these recipes? If these recipes were compromised what would the impact on the brand be?

Imagine this. You’re a big international food brand. Your sales are doing so well that you’re over capacity in your manufacturing plants. The majority of your new sales are coming from the Middle East, but you don’t have a factory there. But you get approached by an Indian manufacturer who says that they have spare capacity and would love to make your product for you. Great! They’re going to need the recipe. Hmmm. Stop!

At this point, the brand owner needs to stop and ask questions. Lot of questions.

  • How will they protect the recipe?
  • Can they demonstrate that they’re protecting it, really?
  • Who’s going to have access to the recipe?
  • Can they be trusted?
  • Who’s job is it to ask the questions? Do they know what questions to ask?

But let us for a moment imagine what could happen…

  • Recipe is not stored safely and is compromised. The product is made using a different recipe and the resulting product lets the brand down. FAIL!
  • The recipe is leaked. Competitors get their hands on it and offer the same product at a discount. FAIL!

Ouch! Either way, the result will cost, if not in sales then in brand reputation or brand value.

Managing and protecting a brand is so much bigger than the marketing department. It should permeate the whole business from finance and HR to legal and operations. Potential brand damage can come from any quarter so everyone needs to be clear as to what their part is in protecting the brand and its value to the business.

Fortunately at Irn Bru, they understand that one. They even have a decoy - we don’t really know whether the original formula is stored in Scotland or Switzerland.

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6 easy steps to Brand Building using Twitter

The thing with Twitter is, you’re either on the bus, or you’re not. Those that aren’t think it’s just a passing fad and don’t really understand it. But, it’s becoming increasingly important as part of any brand building strategy.

In a recent article, out of the 100 most mentioned brands on Twitter, less than half have a Twitter account. And, some of those aren’t really making the most of their presence.

It seems crazy to think that there’s a whole heap of conversations going on about these brands in the twitterverse and these brands aren’t even listening, let alone participating. You can bet your last dollar that if these conversations were happening in print, they’d be watching, reading and taking notes. But here, they choose to ignore.

So, if you are one of those brands that is not taking part in the twitterverse, you’re probably wondering where to start. So here’s my beginner’s guide to brand building with Twitter in 6 easy steps.

1. Clarify your objective!
You must first decide on what basis you are going to participate. Is it to enhance your brand story and add personality, or is it for customer services? Are you going to have just the one twitter account or are you going to encourage employees to tweet. Word of warning with the latter: make sure this is part of a wider social media strategy that permeates the business so that everyone concerned is clear on best practices. Reputations can be destroyed online in seconds, both personal and corporate.

2. Decide on the nature of your tweets
It may be worth having some guidelines in place as to the sorts of things that your brand will tweet about. It’s not about sell, sell, sell, but about listen, engage, listen, and engage. So how are you going to engage? And, when you listen, how will you respond? There are 6 main types of tweet;
a. Brand news
b. Customer support
c. Feedback
d. Special offers
e. Interesting info or resources
f. Random thoughts

You will need to be clear as how you will employ each of these and if you will actually use all of them. Some say, it’s best to reserve using the last one for personal brands. But, if random titbits is part of your brand story then why not?

3. Register your brand name twitter profile
Make sure you pick something that sounds right. You may want to use your name to reinforce your brand message in some way.

4. Create your Twitter page
Use the background to display your brand assets and key brand messages. You might want to use the profile pic to display your logo. Some brands put a pic of the person managing the account. This reinforces the personal nature of twitter and can be a good tactic if twitter is a key strand of your customer services strategy.

5. Allocate resource to maintain your twitter account.
There’s nothing worse for a brand than lack of consistency and the same applies here. The person who’s job it is to manage your twitter account must be very clear on the brand values and proposition. Twitter can enhance your brand if used correctly. It can also destroy.

6. Listen, listen, listen
I know, I’ve mentioned this already, but it’s a biggie. It’s important to track what is being said in the twitterverse, so make sure that your twitterer is using an application that allows you to keep track of your brand mentions. It’s also a good idea to listen to what’s being said about your competitors as well as your product/service category. You could pick up some great ideas for new product development or service improvements.

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Finding your personal brand

There are lot of articles about on personal branding, with the majority talking about how important it is to have a personal brand. The rest of them talk about all the ways that you can increase the visibility of your personal brand in the online environment. But, before any work can be done to raise your profile, you need to be clear as to what your brand is. And working it out is not always straightforward. Well sure, it sounds straightforward when you talk about it

“… a personal brand is a blend of your strengths, personality, passion, values and goals….”

Working all that out takes quite a bit of time and effort. Let me just look at each one of these in turn.

Strengths
How many of us know our strengths? If you’ve been through corporate training, it’s likely that you’ve been subjected to a Myers Briggs profiling or similar. So, for you guys, it’s a bit easier. But for the rest of you, identifying your strengths can be difficult. Why?

  • We don’t always realise that we’re good at something, because for us, it’s natural. We don’t know what we know. Often, it takes someone else to spot our talent.
  • We’re usually much better at identifying our weaknesses.

It’s always worth starting a list on your own, but ask your friends, family and colleagues for their comments. You’ll probably have a few surprises: things that weren’t on your list, and those that were that are questioned. Be prepared for this

Personality
This is an interesting one. I bet that if we were to do a straw poll, we’d find that our ideas about our personality are not that close to the reality. Do whining negative people consider themselves to be so? You might think you’re confident, but others think of you as arrogant. You get the picture. This is one aspect of personal branding that is crucial to get some outside help with. After all, your personal brand is how others perceive you, and your personality is the crux of this. So, again, ask friends, family and colleagues for some hints.

Passion
What are you passionate about? Do you know? Understanding your passion is mega mega important! It could even be the key to your personal brand. If you spend more time than is healthy taking photographs of roundabouts, then you might have hit upon a niche. A niche whereby you could become an expert. Think of Gavin Pretor-Pinney who just loved looking at and taking pictures of clouds. He went on to form The Cloud Appreciation Society and is now a recognised expert in the cloud world. His book, The Cloud Spotter’s Guide, was a best seller.

Values
Your values are those things that are really important to you in life. Things like recognition, honesty, health, love and achievement. You probably have a clear idea of your values. If not, just ask yourself “what has been really important to me in my life?”. Some people find they have around 5 values, while others have five times that. If you have that many, you need to be clear about what the top ones are though, as these are the invisible drivers in your life. The things that control your behaviour, whether you like it or not. So you may as well be aware of them.

Goals
If you were to ask around, you’ll probably find that most people have dreams not goals. The difference? Goals have actions and timelines against them. The other thing about goals is that they are reviewed regularly so you can track your progress. The level at which you decide to clarify your goals is up to you. Some people give themselves a couple of goals to achieve over a few years, while others have 1, 5 and 10-year plans with goals for each sector of their life (financial, relationship, career etc). So, wherever you want to be on this scale, just make sure you’re on it. Because if you’re not, your personal brand is a going to have a great big hole in it.

Having said all this, the key thing to understand is that your personal brand isn’t what you want to project; it’s what others perceive. So a high level of self -awareness is important because no matter what, you will need to be consistent in the application of your personal brand. As with great consumer brands, consistency is key. Your brand represents the promise that you’re making to help others to understand what to expect from you. You keep changing and people won’t know what to expect, and they’ll go elsewhere.

So, have you figured out your personal brand?

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