This article is the second in a 2-part series on defining your personal brand, which originally appeared in The Drum.

Your personal brand is the expression of everything you stand for in your career and life. Defining who you are as a brand gives your career meaning and purpose, direction and intention, focus and clarity. A clear personal brand allows you to have a set of guiding principles, a touchstone you can use to understand if you’re on the right path in your professional and personal life.

In the first part of this 2-part series on defining your personal brand, I outlined how you can build the foundations of your personal brand with the attributes and skills you possess. In this article, I’ll be covering two additional factors to create further definition around your personal brand: your personality and desired impact.

3) What’s your personality?

In addition to a brand’s attributes and functional benefits, a brand can further differentiate itself by possessing a certain personality and tone of voice. Brands have unique values and approaches that translate through to emotional benefits consumers experience. For example, with Volvo, the emotional benefit could be something like the peace of mind you gain from driving a car made by a brand that puts safety first. With NIKE, that benefit could be around feeling confident from wearing apparel designed by a brand that delivers high performance.

When it come to who you are as brand, you also have a unique style when exercising your skills and living your life. This style is driven by your personality, principles, and philosophies. Ultimately, how you behave and act in your professional life leaves an emotional impression on others. Here are some questions to uncover the pillars of your personality.

  • What are the ways of working for which you want to be known? What is your approach when working with others? Being collaborative? Decisive? Measured?
  • What are your guiding principles? What personal values drive your career decisions, the type of products you market, the type of organisation with which you want to be associated? What beliefs do you have about how you should live your life and conduct your work.
  • What emotional temperament do you possess? Are you intense? Laid back? A fierce planner? How does your temperament affect others? For example, others may be instilled with confidence from knowing you’re dependable. Or they may feel trust from knowing you’re highly ethical.

4) What impact do you aspire to have?

Brands often talk about Brand Promise, a commitment to deliver value in a way to meet the expectations consumers have of that brand. Sometimes this manifests as a Brand Mission or a Brand Purpose. Whatever you call it, this higher purpose is an extension of a product’s positioning, something the brand wants to be known for, and often something about which brand loyalists are most passionate. For example, Virgin’s brand promise is “to embrace the human spirit and let it fly.” Coca-Cola’s “to inspire moments of optimism and happiness.”

This concept of a Brand Promise can and should come into play when defining your own personal brand. Having a strong personal brand means understanding precisely what impact you want to have on others—the lasting memory you want colleagues to have of you long after you’ve moved onto another role. It means being clear with yourself and your colleagues what unique legacy you aspire to leave. Having a strong personal brand allows you to earn a very specific, enduring reputation. Here are some questions to get you started in understanding your own brand promise.

  • Beyond your performance KPIs, what’s your true mission in your role?
  • Beyond your current role, what lasting impact do you desire to create in your broader career?
  • In what way can your professional career fuel your life purpose and vice versa?

Big questions, I realise. And not always the easiest to answer. If you get stuck, talking them through with a friend, a family member, or trusted mentor can be helpful. The upside of defining your personal brand is clarity and purpose. Once you become clearer on the tenants of who you are—the characteristics, skills, personality, and purpose that compose your unique identity—your personal brand can serve as an authoritative compass for your career and your life. Just like consumer brands, everything you choose to do will either strengthen or dilute your brand. And just like brands with clear identities, being clear and firm about your own personal brand enables more confidence, effectiveness, and success not only in your career, but also in your life as a whole.

What are some aspects of your personal brand that have helped guide you in your career and life?  I’d love to hear from you on how you describe your own personal brand, which can hopefully provide some inspiration for others.  Thanks in advance for sharing.

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Personal Branding Course- Joseph Liu

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About Joseph Liu

Joseph Liu helps aspiring professionals relaunch their careers to do work that matters. As a keynote speaker, career & personal branding consultant, and host of the Career Relaunch podcast, his passion is helping people gain the clarity, confidence, and courage to pursue truly meaningful careers. Having gone through three major career changes himself, he now shares insights from building & relaunching global consumer brands to empower professionals and business owners to build & relaunch their personal brands.

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