Your Own Brand Makeover
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BE the brand and OWN your thought leadership.
Most of us struggle with the occasional (or frequent) identity crisis in our brand. It’s only natural. Think about it… At the end of the day, who are you really? A successful, powerful brand is when your work aligns with your calling, your mission and your passion. All of those go together.
And even though getting very clear on your brand isn’t easy, it is worth it—and it does get easier. Because when you are aligned, you are more YOU. And remember, I don’t want to change who you are, I want to change what you DO, so that you can be MORE of who you are.
Branding is ALL about identity. It’s about knowing yourself in order to be yourself. In my book, SKIRTS in the Boardroom, I wrote about women who are synonymous with their brand—they are themselves through and through: Oprah, Suze Orman, Ellen. They have packaged up their talents, their personalities, their values, and their struggles as part of their brand.
When I started my company Communication Counts! (way back when…), I packaged up my talent and experience as a speaker and sold it as a professional service for high-end clients. Today, speaking is a huge part of my brand. A brand is a living thing–it’s not something copied or something that stays the same forever. It evolves with you, and is a visual, purposeful and personal representation of who you are inside.
So…. even if you think you don’t have a brand, you DO! And you’re working on it every day… like it or not. Here’s how to get at it:
Describe your current brand. Ask a few friends or colleagues to describe you, your style, you way of operating in the world. Look in the mirror and write down what you see.
Describe your ideal brand. Think about what it is you’d like to portray. I’m all for describing myself with words like “demanding,” “bossy,” “perfectionistic,” “challenging,” but maybe you’re not so comfortable with that. Don’t think about who you would be if you could be somebody else, but what you want people to know about you when they see you.
Define your brand. Build your brand around your talent. What do you do that no one else can? What do you stand for that makes you unique? Think of the values you hold dear.
If you had to define your brand in four words or less, what would they be?
Develop your brand. You have to define your brand so that you can develop it, because if you build it without knowing what it is, you’re going to end up traveling in circles rather than in a straight line. For instance, if your ideal brand includes “being decisive” and your current brand includes being indecisive, you need to start BEING decisive, making decisions and sticking to them. Master the elements of your brand.
What is an element of your brand you need to BE more often?
Deliver your brand. Your brand can’t exist only within your head; you can’t just will it into existence because you think you’re decisive, clear, fair, etc. You actually have to BE decisive, clear and fair—in public and in private—for people to attribute those traits to you. Make your brand real for others. Make people experience whatever it is you’re trying to become. Live your brand every day.
How are you at delivering your brand? Where do you need work?
Defend your brand. The best way to know if your brand is really working is to get to the point where you can be yourself—even when you think nobody’s watching. It’s what you eventually start doing on a subconscious level. This is why branding comes from within.
In what ways are you really living your brand, even subconsciously?
Once you’ve mastered these steps, it gets easier and easier to brand yourself clearly and powerfully.
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