Long before the concept of ‘Personal Branding’ was understood, brand practitioners often used the ‘Brand as Person‘ model as an aid to help establish brand personalities.
The concept was simple. If your brand was a person, what sort of personality would it be? Examples might be: a trusted uncle you might go to for advice; a best friend who is good company and fun to be around; a team member who can always be relied upon… etc. It was a simple approach, but invited you in to consider characterisics that a brand might have or need.
When we are involved in personal branding, characteristics are already there in the personality. The issue is that the personality, particularly if it’s yourself, is a complex organism. We usually have multiple personalites or roles, based upon who we are interacting with. You may be a daughter or son, a parent, brother or sister, employee or boss, team colleague… the list goes on. Everyone you interact with is likely to know and describe you differently.
Building the personal brand
So, if you are working on developing your personal brand, which personality do you work with? You can’t pick and choose, because they are all you, just different sides to your own personality. The most important principle is to be authentic, while presenting the best possible you.
That brings us back to the ‘brand as person model‘. What is the real ‘you‘ that your audience best resonates with? It might be a good idea to do a little research. Just as you would with a corporate brand, ask people to describe your strengths and weaknesses, then analise,work and refine them and how they will be presented..
Remember, it’s important to be authentic. You are presenting the real you and people quickly see through false facades. People often talk about a brand promise. Brand choices are made based upon what the brand promises to deliver. This is critically important. If a brand fails to live up to its promise – the damage can be terminal. Customers may buy a brand of cola, for example, because they can rely on it to always taste the same. If one day they buy a bottle and the taste has changed, they may feel disappointed and let down. It didn’t live up to the promise, and trust is damaged.
The same goes for personal brands. Write down what your brand promises to deliver – your brand values – make sure they are based upon the real you. Whenever involved in some activity, check to ensure the action is aligned with your brand values. People will choose to follow you because of who and what you are, and what you stand for – that’s your brand promise. Live it.