“WTF Do I Do With It Now?”
I’ve delivered a lot of personal brands over the years. By which I mean, I’ve worked one-to-one with hundreds of clients to define what goes into their personal brand, then formulated that on a single page of A4 using the personal brand pyramid.
To a tee, they’ve loved what they read. (And why wouldn’t they? There in black and white we’ve shone a spotlight on the best bits of who they are and what makes them tick.) Then they ask me a question:
“So how do I actually use this?”*
The answer comes in two parts.
First, I explain that the primary function of defining your brand is to give you clarity and confidence. By spending time drilling down into ‘what’ you offer and ‘who’ is offering it, you’ve got a clear idea of your brand – and the self-assurance to accept that not everyone is going to buy it. (Which is a whopper of a benefit, if you ask me.)
Next, I explain that, whilst everything included in your brand pyramid is relevant to you (Part 1 being the reason why), not everything is relevant to others. Instead, it’s about identifying which parts are for public consumption, then sharing them in a subtle way, whether in person or online. (I’ve written plenty of posts about how to do that – just have a browse.)
Here’s what I’m talking about…
To show you how that works, let’s use some examples from my own personal brand pyramid. Here’s what’s written, in full, for my Values. The bits in blue are things I share publicly, the bits in red are for my benefit.
- If I promise, I’ll deliver (and won’t promise unless I can).
- I give – and value – straight-talking talking honesty when it’s asked for and in the person’s best interests to hear it.
- Courtesy is huge for me. “Please” and “Thank you” are the fundamentals of respect.
As an example of how I share the public bits, when I’m delivering something to someone, I’ll include some wording like, “As promised, here’s that article I said I’d send.” I’ve also included the bit about honesty in my LinkedIn summary.
Or here are my Drivers:
- Forward momentum drives me and I paddle my own canoe so I dictate the speed and direction I’m going.
- My reputation is everything and staying in control means they’re my decisions, right or wrong.
I tend to share these publicly when I’m face-to-face with people. For example, I’ve told people about paddling my own canoe when I’ve been explaining why I’m turning down an offer to join their business network. And I’ll subtly drop in that bit about my reputation when I’m talking to workshop delegates about how I want them to get the most out of the session.
Or another example, this time with my Skills/Strengths:
- I have an antenna for what’s fascinating and use it to pinpoint someone’s USP before articulating their brand with some savvy wordsmithing.
- The real skill is taking my clients’ words and putting them back into their mouths, in a way that gives them the confidence to promote their brand to others.
- I know who I am, so I am myself at all times, accepting I’m not everyone’s cup of tea.
Those ones in blue are a lot more obvious to share publicly, especially when I’m explaining not just what I do, but how I do it. And the one in red is directly related to the point I made earlier about confidence from acceptance.
Those boundaries aren’t hard and fast.
I should caveat this by saying, there have been plenty of occasions when I’ve shared some of those bits in red. Usually it’s in workshops when I’ve been illustrating how that clarity and confidence bit works – but I’ve also just done it in this post. And any boundaries don’t have to be hard and fast for you either – just gauge your audience and what’s relevant, then use those bits.
I hope this post has given you a clear idea of what your brand is for and, just as importantly, who it’s for – either in its entirety or in part.
* They don’t actually say “WTF”, I was just using artistic license.
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