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5 Things to Do Before You Build Your Personal Brand

5 Things to Do Before You Build Your Personal Brand

    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.

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    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.

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      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.

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      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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      More by this author

      Dan Schawbel

      Dan Schawbel is the leading personal branding expert for young professionals.

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      Last Updated on March 30, 2020

      How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

      How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

      Traditionally, when you have a lot of ideas in your mind, you would create a text document, or take a sheet of paper and start writing in a linear fashion like this:

      • Intro to Visual Facilitation
        • Problem, Consequences, Solution, Benefits, Examples, Call to action
      • Structure
        • Why, What, How to, What If
      • Do It Myself?
        • Audio, Images, time-consuming, less expensive
      • Specialize Offering?
        • Built to Sell (Standard Product Offering), Options (Solving problems, Online calls, Dev projects)

      This type of document quickly becomes overwhelming. It obviously lacks in clarity. It also makes it hard for you to get a full picture at a glance and see what is missing.

      You always have too much information to look at, and most often you only get a partial view of the information. It’s hard to zoom out, figuratively, and to see the whole hierarchy and how everything is connected.

      To see a fuller picture, create a mind map.

      What Is a Mind Map?

      A mind map is a simple hierarchical radial diagram. In other words, you organize your thoughts around a central idea. This technique is especially useful whenever you need to “dump your brain”, or develop an idea, a project (for example, a new product or service), a problem, a solution, etc. By capturing what you have in your head, you make space for other thoughts.

      In this article, we are focusing on the basics: mind mapping using pen and paper.

      The objective of a mind map is to clearly visualize all your thoughts and ideas before your eyes. Don’t complicate a mind map with too many colors or distractions. Use different colors only when they serve a purpose. Always keep a mind map simple and easy to follow.

        Image Credit: English Central

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        By following the three next steps below, you will be able to create such mind maps easily and quickly.

        3 Simple Steps to Create a Mind Map

        The three steps are:

        1. Set a central topic
        2. Add branches of related ideas
        3. Add sub-branches for more relevant ideas

        Let’s take a look at an example Verbal To Visual illustrates on the benefits of mind mapping.[1]

        Step 1 : Set a Central Topic

        Take a blank sheet of paper, write down the topic you’ve been thinking about: a problem, a decision to make, an idea to develop, or a project to clarify.

        Word it in a clear and concise manner.

          What is the first idea that comes to mind when you think of the subject for your mind map? Draw a line (straight or curved) from the central topic, and write down that idea.

            Step 3 : Add Sub-Branches for More Relevant Ideas

            Then, what does that idea make you think of? What is related to it? List it out next to it in the same way, using your pen.

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              You can always add more to it later, but that’s good for now.

              In our example, we could detail the sub-branch “Benefits” by listing those benefits in sub-branches of the branch “Benefits”. Unfortunately, we already reached the side of the sheet, so we’re out of space to do so. You could always draw a line to a white space on the page and list them there, but it’s awkward.

              Since we created this mind map on a regular letter-format sheet of paper, the quantity of information that fits in there is very limited. That is one of the main reasons why I recommend that you use software rather than pen and paper for most of the mind mapping that you do.

              Repeat Step 2 and Step 3

              Repeat steps 2 and 3 as many times as you need to flush out all of your ideas around the topic that you chose.

                I added first-level (main) branches around the central topic mostly in a clockwise fashion, from top-right to top-left. That is how, by convention, a mind map is read.

                In the next section, we are covering the three strategies to building your maps.  

                Mind Map Examples to Illustrate Mind Mapping

                You can go about creating a mind map in various ways:

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                • Branch by Branch: Adding whole branches (with all of their sub-branches), one by one.
                • Level by Level: Adding elements to the map, one level at a time. That means that firstly, you add elements around the central topic (main branches). Then, you add sub-branches to those main branches. And so on.
                • Free-Flow: Adding elements to your mind map as they come to you, in no particular order.

                Branch by Branch

                Start with the central topic, add a first branch. Focus on that branch and detail it as much as you can by adding all the sub-branches that you can think of.

                  Then develop ideas branch by branch.

                    A branch after another, and the mind map is complete.

                      Level by Level

                      In this “Level by Level” strategy, you first add all the elements that you can think of around the central topic, one level deep only. So here you add elements on level 1:

                        Then, go over each branch and add the immediate sub-branches (one level only). This is level 2:

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                          Idem for the next level. This is level 3. You can have as many levels as you want in a mind map. In our example, we only have 3 levels. Now the map is complete:

                            Free-Flow

                            Basically, a free flow strategy of mind mapping is to add main branches and sub-topics freely. No rules to restrict how ideas should flow in the mind map. The only thing to pay attention to is that you need to be careful about the level of the ideas you’re adding to the mind map — is it a main topic, or is it a subtopic?

                              I recommend using a combination of the “Branch by Branch” and the “Free-Flow” strategies.

                              What I normally do is I add one branch at a time, and later on review the mind map and add elements in various places to finish it. I also sometimes build level 1 (the main branches) first, then use a “Branch by Branch” approach, and later finish the map in a “Free-Flow” manner.

                              Try each strategy and combinations of strategies, and see what works best for you.

                              The Bottom Line

                              When you’re feeling stuck or when you’re just starting to think about a particular idea or project, take out a paper and start to brain dump your ideas and create a mind map. Mind mapping has the magic to clear your head and have your thoughts organized.

                              If you can’t always have access to a paper and pen, don’t worry! Creating a mind map with software is very effective and you get none of the drawbacks of pen and paper. You can also apply the above steps and strategies just the same when using a mind mapping tool on the phone and computer.

                              More Tools to Help You Organize Thoughts

                              Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                              Reference

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