Why your personal brand is important and how to define yours.

There is a lot of talk about “building a personal brand”, but often that talk falls short by missing a critical component of personal branding, which is knowing what your personal brand is in the first place.

In this blog, we’ll discuss what a personal brand is and three steps to defining yours, so you don’t get stuck wondering how to build a brand without a strong foundation underneath it.

Read on to become an expert in developing your authentic personal brand.


Why clarifying your personal brand is important.

Let’s start with why clarifying your personal brand is so important in the first place. When it comes to everything related to careers, what we don’t control will be controlled for us. And that is true when it comes to your personal brand, as well. 

Being able to control the narrative of your personal brand ensures that what people remember about you is what you want them to remember. Too often, as busy career professionals, we walk around thinking that our hard work will speak for itself and that people intuitively understand our strengths, values, and impact. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case. 

No one spends more time thinking about you than you do, so if you want someone to know something about you, it’s your responsibility to explicitly tell them.

Ok, now you recognize the importance of defining your personal brand for others, but you’re still not doing it! This leads us to why people often get stuck in the process.


The biggest obstacle in crafting your personal brand.

While there are many obstacles we could list here, what stops people in their tracks more than anything else is not knowing what their brand is or how to communicate it to others, especially in ways that feel genuine and authentic. 

People are terrified of others thinking they are boasting, selling themselves, or selling out. When working with our personal branding clients, this is often the first hurdle we have to help them overcome; realizing that it’s ok to talk about how awesome you are! 

And, the good news is that you can talk about the impact you create in the world in inspiring and authentic ways, so let’s learn how.


How to define your personal brand.

Now that you’re fully on board with the idea of putting your brand into the world, let's talk about how you can be clear on what your personal brand is and how you want to define (or articulate it) for others. 

The foundation of a good personal brand is clarity. You can’t show up in the world in the ways you want if you’re not clear on how you want to be seen and perceived in the first place. 

To define and articulate a compelling personal brand, there are three necessary dimensions of clarity. Two of these aspects are also related to career clarity. And, the third aspect is related to validating our personal brand to build trust, authority, and likability with our audience.

 

Internal Clarity


Internal clarity is all about understanding who you are, what you care about, what lights you up, and what impact you want to make in the world. It comes from a deep foundation of inner knowing. This is where you might share elements like your personal values, personal brand attributes, or personal vision statement. It’s about sharing information that creates connection points with the audience and draws them in. The clearer you are on what truly matters to you the more confidently you can show up in the world with authenticity and intention.


External Clarity


External clarity is all about knowing exactly what your target goal or audience is. Perhaps you’re in a job search and your target is a particular industry or role, or perhaps you’re a small business owner trying to attract clients, or perhaps you are an established business leader trying to build thought leadership and attract speaking opportunities or board seats. Whatever your goal is it needs to be very specific and clear so you can position your story in a way that resonates with your audience and what you’re trying to achieve. 


Validation


Validation is where the rubber meets the road. Sure you can list a bunch of wonderful attributes about yourself or add a bunch of SEO jargon related to the opportunities you’re trying to seek, but there needs to be enough information related to your experience, your expertise, your knowledge, your accomplishments, and your social proof to make the audience believe what you’re saying is true and relevant for them.


Why some personal brands fall short.


When you’re missing one of the three pieces above, your brand can end up feeling just a little bit off. 

It might draw people in, but ultimately it leaves them feeling like there is just a little something missing that they can’t quite put their finger on. Let’s talk about why that’s happening.


When you’re missing internal clarity in your personal brand


We don’t get to know who you are or what you care about. This diminishes your ability to build trust and rapport, which is critical for getting people to like us. And people who like us are people who want to hire us and help us.


When you’re missing external clarity in your personal brand


You’re confusing your audience. People might understand your skills and expertise, but the goal of what you’re trying to achieve is unclear. And confused people don’t buy or hire. You need to make it explicitly clear to the audience where you’re going, and why.

When you’re validation in your personal brand


Your personal brand can feel surface-level or wishy-washy. Yes, you’ve claimed you're an award-winning marketer, but if the audience can’t see any evidence of that, it’s going to feel untrue. And in this day and age, with so much smoke and mirrors on the internet, people are incredibly distrustful. If you really want to accomplish your goals, you need to provide validation that demonstrates why you’re qualified to do what it is you want to do.


How to articulate your personal brand to others.

Now you’re clear on how to clarify and define the elements of your personal brand, but how do you take it the next step further and actually put it in words that pull your story out of your brain and into the real world? 

This is a task that’s usually easy in theory and incredibly difficult in practice. 

Here are two resources we have to get you started. 


Learn how to reflect on and find the right words that capture your personal brand. 


One of the things we find to be incredibly helpful when it comes to crafting language is starting with a framework, templates, or examples. 

This way you can see what it looks like when it’s done right, and it gives you a good starting point to move past your writer’s block. Check out our Personal Brand course here to help you get started.


Incorporate your personal brand on LinkedIn.


LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful platform for amplifying your brand. It has 830M users and is still the most heavily utilized platform for business professionals. 

Articulating your personal brand on LinkedIn means that it’s inevitable that it will stand out from the crowd and the sea of “online resume profiles” straight from the early 2000s. It’s been 20 years, it’s time to elevate! LinkedIn is also a powerful platform for attracting a variety of career opportunities from jobs, to speaking gigs, board seats, growth opportunities, and clients. 

Check out our step-by-step guide on how to incorporate your personal brand on your LinkedIn profile here.

Whether you’re just learning about personal branding for the first time, or you’ve decided it’s time to fully invest in building yours, we hope the steps above can help you get started and find the words to confidently showcase your awesomeness to others.