Most people don’t take the time to discover their own personal brand. I believe the reason for this is because of the very many influences we have on our lives, from our parents, to our teachers to our managers and even our friends.  I have many friends who are instructed to become lawyers, doctors and accountants by their parent who is already in that field and wants to mold their child in their shape.

When you choose someone else’s career path, it can have a negative impact on your work and life.  Also, most people don’t take time out of their day to think about who they are and what they want to do for the rest of their lives.  Instead, they become so overwhelmed in the moment or are so focused on climbing a corporate ladder, that they aren’t true to themselves and, as a result, get lost.  Creating a personal brand is the easiest part of the personal branding process because social media tools are free and marketing documents are easy to make, even if you aren’t a technical expert or graphic designer.  People, as well as companies, don’t invest the time in figuring out the right branding strategy before they start using these tools, so they don’t obtain the desired output.
In order to help you in your personal brand development, I’ve laid out five critical things you need to focus on before creating your personal brand.  They will help you with your brand positioning, as well as make you think about where you’re going (your destination), so you’ll be able to reach your goals and have the results that you desire.  I know it might seem like tedious work, but when you can communicate what you do to the right audience, you’ll be much more successful in the long-term.

1.  Brainstorm a mission and a vision statement

A mission and a vision statement are much different.  Your mission is what you do everyday, while your vision is your future.  To create a mission statement, you should think about what you do and why you do it.  Your mission should be simple and clear and only one sentence long.  It should touch upon your behaviors, traits and values.  For your vision statement, imagine yourself at least ten years in the future.  What will you be doing then and why?  What are you looking to give back to the world?  Both of these statements can be stored privately or publicly displayed on your website, just like a company would.

2.  Identify your personal brand statement

Aside from your name and picture, your personal brand statement is the third most important asset you have on the web that helps identify you.  Your name is your online ID, while your picture is what people remember you by and experience and your personal brand statement is how you position yourself in the minds of others.  Your statement should tell everyone what you do and who you serve.  It forces you to take a niche, instead of trying to own a topic that is already full of competition.  In this way, people will get to know you and go to you for the services that you offer, instead of anyone else.

3.  Give yourself a slogan

Few people have their own slogan, but almost all companies swear by them.  Nike uses “just do it.”  Apple uses “think different.”  BMW uses “the ultimate driving machine.”  A slogan can get people excited about your personal brand in the same respect.  Think about how you want others to connect with you. Think of a catchy phrase to describe other peoples experience with you and then use it for your online logo or near your picture.  It can be funny or serious, but it needs to be effective and original to be remembered.

4.  Figure out your brand attributes

Let’s say you’re in an interview and you get asked the question “how do you describe yourself?”  What would you say?  There are so many different words out there that you can use to describe yourself.  For instance, you can say you’re cunning, daring, intelligent, outgoing, stubborn, etc.  Other people may describe you in the same respect.  You really want what people say about you to equal how you describe yourself.  Think about your own brand attributes and write them down right now.

5.  Discover your audience

Finding your audience is really important because they are the people that will pay attention to your work and spread your ideas.  If you’re selling yourself to the wrong audience, they will dismiss you and it will be a waste of time.  You really need to figure out what companies or customers would be interested in what you have to offer because you can’t appeal to anyone.  Your audience should be a niche group of people and you should give them as much value as you can over time.

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