If you had to distill your reason for doing what you do down to two or three words, could you?
Every day I work with individuals who think brand management is only for the big corporations. These folks are dedicated to delivering value every day but have no clue that brand marketing is just as important to them as it is for the big name brands out there. So what if you're not Nike? It doesn't mean that people aren't developing perceptions about you already. So it's time to start managing your own personal brand.
What moves your heart?
So how do you start working on the definition of your brand essence? Don't get caught spending time trying to come up with your brand promise or your brand statement – it's way too early. Instead, the big question is this: what moves you? What drives you? What wakes you up in the morning? Or keeps you up late at night? Another way I often ask the question goes like this: What do you find yourself spending money on, even when you know you may not get it back? If you're already investing, it's a good chance you're circling in to your brand essence.
What would others say about you?
Need another way to think about your brand essence? Think about the name brands you love and how you talk about them. What do people say about you? Are they delighted by your insight? By your care? By your extravagance? If you feel bad asking directly for their opinion, use a tool like linkedin.com which will create an indirect way of capturing recommendations. As you read them, what stands out? As we say with brand, it's not what you say about your brand, it's what *they* say about your brand that counts.
If you can label it, you can embrace it!
The first time I started thinking about a personal brand makeover was after a conversation with a friend who shared with me that one thing about my life stood out more to him than anything else. As he shared his take on my personal brand, I immediately embraced it – he'd put into words what I knew about myself but had no way to articulate. Since then, over the last several years, I've worked with tons of folks doing the same thing and each time it's an incredible experience. People become more of what they are only after they have words to express it.
So what are you waiting for? Get started on your brand makeover today – by thinking about your brand essence.