Recap (January 31, 2019) – Personal Branding: Why You Need One and How to Go About Building One (Part 2)

Here are Michael’s responses to questions from the chatroom that we did not get to during our interview. Please let me know if you have follow up questions.

How is personal branding role specific?

Personal branding is YOU specific. When you’re fulfilling a certain role, you only release the pieces of your personal brand that are required for that role. Your brand shouldn’t change often. It will evolve over time as your skills, talents, and experiences allow you to express deeper parts of yourself in new ways, but most of what makes you authentic will remain the same.

Is personal branding similar to writing what you would write in your resume where you try to sell yourself to a potential employer?  Is there any room in personal branding to discuss your weaknesses or is it all about selling your strengths?  I always feel like there’s never enough emphasis placed on where we fall short as professionals – it’s all about knowing strengths and weaknesses.

Yes, your personal brand statement could be utilized at the top of a resume, in LinkedIn’s summary, and in your bio. In my definition of a personal brand, there is room for the areas you’re purposely developing. But, you wouldn’t write your weaknesses down and use them to sell yourself. I would suggest only sharing the areas you’re working to develop when you’re asked to (in interviews, with a hiring manager, etc.), with accountability partners, and your personal board of directors. It takes a truly humble, knowledgeable, and emotionally intelligent person to openly share what he or she is working to be better at. I encourage you to display your vulnerabilities, but do so in a way that adds credibility to your brand.

How do you maintain a personal brand when you don’t have a lot of “brand assets”? — when your career hits a dead end, when your company is unheard of, etc. How do you embody a positive, intriguing brand when you’re a bit stuck?

Your personal brand is an aggregation of your (1) communication profile, (2) motivators, (3) values, (4) strengths, and (5) life’s experiences. When you find the themes in these five “assets”, you can write a personal mission, 3-year goals, and a 3-5 sentence brand statement that will sell you without recent career wins. You may also consider creating wins through volunteering with your favorite nonprofit, joining a professional association and helping them with projects, offering your skills complimentary to a small business in exchange for a recommendation, reaching out to your networking and collecting as many LinkedIn recommendations as possible, or launching your own website explaining more about you. More importantly, don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Even if they appear to be successful, I promise you they’re going through challenging things they’re unwilling to share. This temporary slow time in your life is preparing you for something bigger than you can currently comprehend.

We recently had a survey asking group members to rate other person on 1. how easy to work with this person? 2. Does this person respond quickly to requests? 3. Is this person easy to get engaged to solve issues? 4. Dose this person always deliver on commitments?  Wondering do those questions connect to personal branding?

I see this as being linked to one component of a person’s brand. I believe it’s most closely connected to someone’s thinking, behavioral, and communication preferences (#1 in my answer to the previous question), but not strongly correlated to their personal mission or goals.

What is the role of color in a personal brand?

I dive into this topic on the third episode of my podcast, listen to it here. Consider reading this website for another look at how color affects human decision making. After you’ve uncovered your personal values and written your mission, it’d be fun to look at the meaning of different colors and choose two that most closely correlate with how you want people to know you. Can you find ways to infuse those colors into your wardrobe, resume, LinkedIn, website, business cards, social media posts, etc. The more you use the color, the more people around you associate you with the meaning of that color.

How do you (can you) tie your brand to your company/team brand?

Do your core values align with the company’s values? Is your personal mission somehow connected to the organization’s mission? Is your personal brand similar to the organization’s value proposition? If yes, find ways to openly talk about the connection. Draw the connection via posts on social media. Write blogs that talk about why you love working for the employer. Wear clothing with the organization’s logo. Join a board of directors and tell others why your mission aligns with the nonprofit’s mission. Host a dinner series and invite like-minded people to the dinner. As much as possible, talk about it in person and online. The connection between your and the organization’s brand will grow quickly.

I always struggle with polarities and the need to categorize us. This is one of the things that I find most difficult in branding. Everyone wants to put you in a box and identify you with… when our real talent is about synthesizing—and in multiple contexts.

I feel the same. Differences should be celebrated, not hidden or categorized. Thankfully, the voices of the people who loved to place other people in boxes are rapidly shrinking. They’re being replaced by the emotionally-developed people who see how diversity creates balanced, stronger, engaged, and more productive teams. If you follow the process in my answer to question #3 above, it’ll be awfully difficult for anyone to place you in a box. I think it’s impossible for any other person to have your communication profile, motivators, values, strengths, and life’s experiences. The more you share this uniqueness, the less they can place you in a box.